Anthony Young has a better record than George Ashie, including a technical-knockout win that sent Sadam Ali into retirement in 2019.
Oscar De La Hoya is nevertheless wary of Ashie, who replaced an injured Young this week as Alexis Rocha’s opponent Saturday night in Inglewood, California. Ghana’s Ashie is 38, but he has won five straight fights, all by knockout or technical knockout, since his close 10-round decision defeat to Stephen Ormond in August 2018.
The 12-round welterweight bout between Rocha (21-1, 13 KOs), of Santa Ana, California, and Accra’s Ashie (33-5-1, 25 KOs) will headline DAZN’s four-fight stream Saturday from YouTube Theater (8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT). De La Hoya told co-hosts Akin Reyes and Barak Bess during a recent appearance on “The DAZN Boxing Show” that Rocha will encounter a durable opponent who wants to capitalize on this unforeseen chance.
“I wasn’t actually too happy about fighting this guy because it’s a dangerous fight, actually,” De La Hoya said. “When I heard that he’s from Ghana, I’m like, ‘OK, this guy’s the real deal.’ You know, he’s got a decent record – a lot of wins, with five losses. But he’s never been stopped, he’s never been dropped.
“And just the fact that he’s a fighter from Ghana, you know those fighters, they have heart, they have discipline, they have, you know, when they get the moment, the opportunity, they try to seize it. You know? Unless you’re Tagoe. But, you know, we have a great card. I’m excited to watch Rocha, who’s already knocking on the door for a world title. Who knows how many fights more? But I think he’s right there.”
De La Hoya took a shot at Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe, who was widely criticized for his cautious approach against Ryan Garcia on a Golden Boy Promotions show last April 9 at Alamodome in San Antonio. Tagoe (32-2, 15 KOs), who lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs), edged Ashie by majority decision in their 12-rounder 10 years ago in Accra.
Ashie, meanwhile, wants to make his countrymen proud. He promised that his fight with the left-handed Rocha will resemble De La Hoya’s highly competitive welterweight title fight against Ghanian legend Ike Quartey.
De La Hoya conquered Quartey by split decision in their 12-round fight for De La Hoya’s WBC 147-pound championship in February 1999 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The 38-year-old Ashie will make his U.S. debut against Rocha. He replaced Young, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, because Young suffered a broken nose during training camp.
The 25-year-old Rocha has won five fights in a row since suffering his lone loss in October 2020 – a 10-round unanimous decision to Rashidi Ellis (24-1, 15 KOs), of Lynn, Massachusetts, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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