Akufo: I will return

Halesowen News: Simon Akufo (right) battles in vain against Ilya Usachev. Photo by Magic-AV Productions. Simon Akufo (right) battles in vain against Ilya Usachev. Photo by Magic-AV Productions.

SIMON Akufo has vowed to return after losing his world title to Ilya Usachev.

Halesowen’s kickboxing king was stopped inside five rounds by the talented Russian when defending his WKF crown at Birmingham Irish Centre on Saturday.

The 31-year-old never recovered after being felled by a brutal right hand which broke his nose in the first round.

In the immediate aftermath Akufo, who had been called “mad” by some for choosing Usachev as a voluntary defence, mooted the possibility of retirement but says now he is likely to return for at least one more fight.

He said: “I can’t go out like that. Who the fight will be against and what that fight will be I don’t know.

“It’s back to the drawing board. At the end of the day we will see what’s out there and see what the options are.”

One possible opponent is Shuky Shoria, who beat Akufo in October 2008 during a European title clash, when the Halesowen man broke a foot.

But at the very least Akufo will take some time out before plotting his next move, admitting Saturday’s defeat had left him “devastated.”

He added: “Usachev is number one in the world for a reason.

“Maybe I am going to have to take a bit back and eat humble pie and say maybe I was mad for asking for him.

“I said I wasn’t but maybe I should have asked for an easier opponent.

“But at the end of the day if I’m going to call myself a world champion, if I want to be the best, I have to fight the best.

“This guy is a legend, beating him would have put me at the top, losing to him puts me just below the top.”

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