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A Boxer in Ghana

Richard Commey, 29, is Ghana’s No 1 lightweight boxer, ranked third in the world by the International Boxing Federation and seventh by the World Boxing Council.

Commey is single and lives with his parents, siblings and extended family in a wooden house in Bukom, a district in the capital, Accra, that has already produced many well-known boxers. Commey trains for two hours every day in the local Bronx Boxing Club. When a fight is pending, he lives more in the club than at home, training all day and into the evening.

Earnings, basic costs, provisions for old age

Commey makes his living from prize money and appearance fees. Recently he won $100,000 prize money. It is an incredible sum for his neighbours in Bukom, which is one reason why he is reluctant to say any more about his income. Converting his expenditure into euros, he estimates it at about €150 a month for food and rent. He has no insurance, not even health insurance. He recently bought a car with the prize money he won in a fight in the US but does not want to reveal how much it cost.

What does work mean to you?

Work is my life. It is the only way to reach my goals. Training means the world to me.

What is the most important thing in your life?

God. It is a gift from God that I have talent. On Sundays I go to church. I pray and sing.

What would you like to change in your life?

Nothing, I am happy.

What are your biggest problems and how do you deal with them?

It is difficult to get to the top in boxing. People try to stop you, try to hold you back. In the boxing world there is backbiting, bad tricks and intrigues. I try to work against that and I pray.

What do you do when you want to treat yourself?

I don’t go to parties and I drink no alcohol. That is not for me. I like reading books, watching films, playing a bit of football, talking to my neighbours. I like the simple things.

What are you expecting the future to bring and what are you doing about it?

I accept everything that God has planned for me. But I am hoping to be champion of the world. I do my very best for that. When I have achieved that, I would like to do something for my family and my friends.

What would you do if for a whole year you did not have to earn a living?

I would do voluntary work to help my community.

What is the biggest problem in Ghana?

There must be an end to corruption! There is not enough work for the young. The politicians must create jobs and do more for the poor.


Population: 27 million
Currency: cedi (GHS) (1 euro = 5.15 cedi)
GDP per capita: €3,800
Human Development Index: 139th place
(Germany: 4th place out of 188 countries)

Current average costs

1 litre petrol: €0.90
1 chicken (fresh from the market): €5.20
1kg beef: €4.50
1 cabbage: €1.45
1 egg: €0.20
1 packet of cigarettes: €2.50