One of five boxers from Cameroon who disappeared from London’s Olympic village after refusing to go back to their home country has re-appeared...starting a new life in Sheffield.
Serge Ambomo, 27, competed in the Games at light welterweight on July 31, losing to a Turkish opponent, Yakup Sener. Soon after, he and his team-mates vanished from the capital, sparking an international incident.
Now Ambomo has been awarded political asylum and is living in Wybourn.
Ambomo told The Star he had initially left London to be granted asylum accommodation in Wakefield and then Rotherham. He eventually persuaded the authorities he would be in danger if he returned to Africa, following a dispute there over finances connected to his amateur career.
Ambomo told his Sheffield-based interpreter that boxing was his passion - so he was taken to the English Institute of Sport, where Olympic hopefuls train. From there, he was directed to Glyn Rhodes’ Sheffield Boxing Centre in Hillsborough.
Five businessmen at that gym were touched by Ambomo’s plight and pledged to pay £100 each to secure him the medical checks necessary to become a pro.
Now the runaway boxer says he is touched that the UK was prepared to protect him from harm and that he wants to fight for “England’s colours.”
Ambomo will appear before the British Boxing Board of Control in Huddersfield on October 13, hoping to be allowed to fight professionally.
Rhodes said: “Serge has sparred with Jez Wilson, who was very impressed with him. The kid can fight. Over three rounds he was very competitive.
“He is very fit but iuntried at any real level over here. However, he is hungry - he wants this. He has been accepted for asylum and we will do what we can to help him.”
Ambomo used to be a shop worker in Cameroon. He said he had parents in that country, but that he was living his own life and wanted to be a ‘champion sportsman.’
Crosspool’s Wilson will fight in Birmingham, on November 23, against Leicester middleweight Martin Concepcion.