It was a mid Monday morning and it was eerily quiet at the famous Azumah Nelson Villa and its surroundings.
Almost as if the neighbourhood was paying its own final respects.
On a regular day his cold steely gaze could turn a lion into a domestic cat but on this occasion he just stared blankly into the distance.
He let out a cynical laugh as a single tear trickled down his face, the pain was buried deep in those grey pupils.
It was almost as if he could not believe she was capable of dying like all other mortals, after all Comfort Atwei Quarcoo had never shown weakness.
To her it was a waste of emotion, there was work to be done, a family to support.
She held the enviable role of instilling essential life values into perhaps the greatest boxer Africa has ever seen, Azumah Nelson ‘the Professor.’
Born in Accra in 1937,in the southern coastal community of Mantse Agbona Madam Atwei Quarcoo was all business.
She immersed herself in the opportunities of commerce that came with living close to the Sea and was on a mission to ensure that there would be no bellies rumbling with hunger at midnight among her seven children (three boys and four girls).
Such was her wit in the coastal trade that in her early adult years she owned her own fleet of Canoes which she would rent out to the local fishermen.
As far as she was concerned her family would look at the World through her lens.
Perhaps one of a few differences which might have led to her separation from Azumah’s father down the line.
The dirtying of the hands would be done by her so her kids could have the glory.
She lost Aruna at age 5 while Joseph also passed away in 2021.
Azumah is now flanked by his sisters Beatrice Abiana, Theresa Louisa, Lakia Felecia and Oboshie Susana.
Despite growing up in an environment that strongly approved of settling disputes with street fights and fists she wanted no part of it for her children especially Azumah her first child whom she expected to set an example for his siblings.
She wanted her children to take up white collar jobs and fiercely resisted her first child’s attempt to become a professional boxer.
It took her husband to convince her that Azumah Nelson was a special talent who had found his purpose in life even though in the beginning it was hard getting her to understand that anyone’s calling involved getting beaten to a pulp.
However following Azumah’s victory over Wilfredo Gomez which made him a World champion, the euphoria and recognition that it brought her family finally gave Madam Comfort Atwei Quarcoo an awakening of what her son really was.
A global superstar.
“When I returned from that big victory I visited her at the family house and you know when the King is coming home he comes with his entourage.
“She had never treated me any differently from my siblings but on this occasion she went and changed into her best clothes and had a big feast prepared for us,” Azumah stated while grinning.
He was no longer the stubborn child she had always tried to keep in line.
She realized that she had been blessed with one who would impact the lives of several generations.
“During one Homowo celebration after I had become World Champion for the first time she called me aside and said to me,she never believed she would have a child like me.
“She told me that God worked in mysterious ways and advised me to take care of myself.
“It was advice that changed the way I carried myself for the rest of my career ” he stated.
On the Eve of New Year 2023,while most individuals were sharing a fun time with their loved ones Azumah Nelson received a call that his late mum who had been ill for a while had seen her condition take a turn for the worse.
He abandoned everything to spend the next few days with her until she passed away.
“I know that she is in better place because she was in a lot of pain, “he said.
Madam Comfort Atwei Quarcoo had lived a life dedicated to serving her children and her family but most importantly she was the vessel that gave the World the legendary Azumah Nelson.
When the family announces her funeral arrangements, both the young and old as well as boxing fans around the world who appreciate the contribution of Azumah Nelson to our motherland Ghana will be there in their numbers to bid her farewell.
Sleep well Madam Comfort Atwei Quarcoo.