FamilySearch Press Release:
“We Are One People” Says 3-Time World Champion Boxer Samuel Azumah Nelson
26 January 2022, Accra, Ghana—Boxing is a sport that demands grit and determination, but those characteristics don’t appear from nowhere. Just ask Africa’s greatest boxing legend, Samuel Azumah Nelson and a RootsTech 2022 keynote speaker (3–5 March 2022). He credits his ancestors for endowing him with the qualities that carried him to 3 featherweight world championships and a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“I need to show you where my courage and determination to succeed came from” he declared. “I am a proud Ghanaian with a Tabon DNA, power, and spirit. You must be interested in your family history and to live the values it represents.”
There’s a lot behind the Tabon affiliation that is a major part of Azumah’s story for attendees of RootsTech 2022 (March 3–5, 2022). The Tabon people were former slaves in Brazil. With the abolishment of slavery in the late 1800s, 7 families banded together and made their way back to the homelands from which their ancestors had been taken. The Asuman family, who later changed their name to Nelson, were among the leaders of the group.
Rather than being ostracized as outsiders, the group was welcomed and sheltered by the ruling tribes, and they soon set about establishing new lives as tailors, architects, and farmers. But earning a living was difficult, and poverty remains a familiar companion in much of Ghana to this day.
“Zoom Zoom,” as Azumah is affectionately nicknamed, was pressed into labor at an early age, forgoing formal education to help provide for his family, including his parents and 5 siblings. On the main stage at RootsTech 2022, a free online event, he will tell the fascinating tale about how he rose from those humble beginnings in total obscurity to the pinnacle of his chosen sport, including the story of a fateful encounter he had as a young boy with a man who was holding a pair of boxing shoes.
Despite his global fame, Azumah still clings to his family roots. “Even with our different genealogy, we are part of the global family,” he said. “If only we can remind ourselves that regardless of political affiliation, race, tribe, gender, country, and faith, we all belong to ONE BIG FAMILY OF GOD, I believe the world will be a beautiful place to live in.”
To enjoy more of Azumah’s powerful story, register today for free at RootsTech.org, and join the virtual event March 3–5, 2022!