Azumah Nelson vs Pat Cowdell WBC featherweight World title official on-site programme, billed "The Fight", 12th October 1985, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.
Nelson W KO 1
Cowdell challenged Azumah Nelson for the WBC featherweight title, but was caught cold by a bullet of a punch and knocked out in the first round.
Azumah Nelson vs Pat Cowdell
Azumah Nelson born July 19, 1958 in Accra, Ghana. A fine amateur boxer, he logged 50 wins in 52 contests before joining the paid ranks in 1979.
In only his 14th pro bout, he was matched as a late substitute with Hall of Famer Salvador Sanchez for the WBC featherweight belt in Madison Square Garden. Nelson battled the Mexican legend valiantly before succumbing in the 15th round of their July 1982 contest. The previously unknown Ghanaian was now a recognized force in the 126lb division and on December 8, 1984 he captured the WBC championship with a 11th round TKO over Hall of Famer Wilfredo Gomez. He successfully defended the belt six times before winning the WBC super featherweight title from Mario Martinez in 1988. After four title defences, he unsuccessfully challenged Pernell Whitaker for the WBC/IBF lightweight titles. Upon returning to the 130-pound class he defended his championship six more times, including a controversial draw with Australian Hall of Famer Jeff Fenech on June 28, 1991. In the rematch eight months later, Nelson ventured to Australia and stopped Fenech via 8th round kayo.
Wins over Calvin Grove and Gabe Ruelas led to the first of four encounters with "Jesse" James Leija. Nelson drew with Leija in their first bout on September 10, 1993 before losing the WBC title to the tough Texan in the rematch eight months later. After regaining the belt from Leija's successor Gabriel Ruelas in December 1995, Nelson got revenge with a TKO win over Leija in the 6th round of their rubber match.
In his next outing he lost the championship to Genaro Hernandez (L12) and then dropped a 12-round decision to Leija in what would be Nelson's last bout.
A true World champion, he fought all over the globe, including England, Australia, Spain, Mexico and throughout the United States. A combination of technical boxing skills, power in both hands and a reliable chin enabled Nelson to compile a 39-5-2 (28KOs) record.
A national hero in his homeland, Nelson still resides in Accra.
Patrick ("Pat") Cowdell (born 18 August 1953 in Smethwick, Staffordshire). Cowdell now lives just over the border from Smethwick in Oldbury.
Cowdell won the bronze medal in the bantamweight division (– 54 kg) at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. In the semi-finals he was beaten by eventual gold medalist Gu Yong-Ju from North Korea.
Two years earlier Cowdell won the gold medal, at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was a bronze medalist at the 1975 European Amateur Boxing Championships held in Katowice, Poland. He was also the 1973 ABA bantamweight champion, lightweight in 1975, and featherweight champion in 1976 and 1977.
1st round bye
* Defeated Leszek Borkowski (Poland) 5-0
* Defeated Alejandro Silva (Puerto Rico) 5-0
* Defeated Reynaldo Fortaleza (Philippines) 4-1
* Lost to Gu Yong-Ju (North Korea) 1-4
Cowdell turned pro in 1977 and in 1981 took on WBC World featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez, losing a close and hard-fought split decision in which Cowdell was dropped in round 15. In 1985 Cowdell challenged Azumah Nelson for the WBC featherweight title, but was caught cold by a bullet of a punch and knocked out in the first round. He fought on but retired in 1988 after being stopped by Welshman Floyd Havard. He finished up with stats of 36-6-0 (18 KOs) that included spells as British, Commonwealth and European Champion.
Life After Boxing
Pat runs four professional dinner shows a year at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham's city centre. He recently (February 2007) returned to putting shows on at the Burlington after a three-year hiatus at the Holiday Inn - also in the centre of Birmingham.
He also trains a band of fighters that include: Bedworth's former Midland Area super-middleweight champion Neil Tidman, Leamington Spa's Richard Mazurek and Coventry foursome Dougie Walton, Sean McKervey, Joe McCluskey and John Ruddock. Cowdell's most famous pupil, Birmingham gypsy Jimmy Vincent, twice challenged for the British title before retiring in 2005.