Lee Steggles: Boxing and Fitness Training in Ghana

“I spent five weeks in Ghana. It was the first time I’ve been off these Isles, so the most daunting thing was the culture shock. But I definitely wouldn’t swap the experience for anything. I met such friendly people out there. It’s not like England. If you said hello to someone walking down the street here, you’d get a wry look. Over there, whole families greet you.

We all lived as a group and it was the most cohesive group I’ve ever had the pleasure of being with. We gelled straight away and would often go to the local bar or head down to the beach together. You have to be up for a laugh, get on with people, and be open to accepting the culture out there. You’ve also got to be patient; you can’t go out there like a bull in a china shop. They call it Ghana Time – ‘it happens when it happens’. I’ve learnt how to deal with people and it’s certainly broadened my horizons.

The boxing experience was just what I was looking for. A chance to train and sweat it out with some of Ghana’s top boxers as well as working closely with some of the junior lads. Champions like Azumah Nelson, Alfred Kotey and Ike Quarty come from there. The gym in Bukom (an area of James Town in Accra) was something out of a Rocky film set… rough and hot with vultures flying around it. This was not the local tourist area, yet I felt safe and completely looked after and accepted by the locals, probably as they were not used to having an Obruni (friendly term for whiteman) in their district. What an experience and definitely worth doing if you want to train hard, get fit and see a rare side of African life.”

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