By Tomi Pradarics
Former WBA regular champion Paulus Moses steps into the squared circle for the first time since his close defeat against then WBO titlist Raymundo Beltran this past February in Reno, Nevada.
Moses (40-4-0-1, 25 KOs) and his team were verbally protesting the scorecards after the fight as they, alongside the greater part of the fans and scribes inside the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino and in front of television sets, thought the get-go was much closer than the judges’ 116-112, 117-111, 117-111 scores for the defending champion Beltran.
After Team Moses failed in getting an immediate rematch against Beltran, who, instead took on his mandatory challenger and thus got dethroned by Jose Pedraza, the Namibian fighter decided to return to the ring against another African fighter in Ghana’s own Emmanuel Tagoe.
The 29-year-old Tagoe has won 29 fights in a row following his lone setback in his professional run that came in his debut in 2004. The Accra-native has won regional belts of both the WBA and the WBO and also briefly held an IBO title but has never stepped up to participate in a major world title fight.
Before Saturday’s bout at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, the fighters successfully absolved the weigh-in ceremony on Friday afternoon local time. Moses weighed 133.7 pounds while Tagoe came in slightly lighter with 133.3, both comfortably under the 135 pounds lightweight limit.
“Moses is a legend in Namibia, a seasoned championship veteran who is still a very dangerous fighter. He paved the way for Namibian pugilists as he became the first champion who won his title in his own country. [Paulus] Ambunda, [Julius] Indongo, or now Walter [Kautondokwa, who is facing Andrade this weekend for the vacant WBO middleweight championship in Boston, Massachusetts] all followed in the footsteps of Moses,” told the promoter of the Namibian pugilist, Nestor Tobias to BoxingScene.com on Friday morning while being in Boston with his middleweight protégé Kautondokwa leading up to the bout against Andrade on DAZN USA.
The matchup between Moses and Tagoe is a true crossroads bout between a former titlist and long-time contender Namibian and a younger, fresher talent in the Ghanaian boxer. This is a significant pairing, where the winner will emerge as a potential world title challenger.
“Moses is still in a great position, being No. 13 with the WBO. A win over Tagoe, who is a dangerous opponent, indeed, will further improve Paulus’s spot on the ranks. We are planning to put together the biggest possible fight for Moses, that could very well come in the form of another world title shot in 2019,” Tobias said.
The current champion at lightweight by the WBO is Jose Pedraza, who is signed up to face WBA belt holder Vasiliy Lomachenko next on December 8th in a title unification at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.
Tobias is keen to challenge the winner of that big fight for Moses.
“We have a close relationship with Top Rank, they are aware that we are here, we had a tough fight with Beltran, and would love to give another honest performance to the American audience on ESPN,” concluded Tobias.
Moses vs Tagoe is a twelve-round championship fight for the vacant WBO Africa title. Saturday’s card takes place at the Bukom Boxing Arena and is promoted by Baby Jet Promotions.
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.