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Ghana boxer plans to fight like namesake

Citizen Staff Writer



What’s in a name?

For boxer Ossie Duran, it’s everything.

History. Heroism. Hard punches.

It’s in the Duran name, one he’s using after changing it from his birth name, Osumanu Yahaya.

Duran changed it nine years ago in honor of his boxing hero, Roberto Duran, one of the most famous fighters of all time.

“Duran was my hero,” the Ghana native said.

His name change was simple “because I love Duran.”

And he loves boxing. He’ll be in the ring Friday at the Desert Diamond Casino to face Nogales native and Tucson favorite David “The Destroyer” Lopez in a junior middleweight bout.

Lopez-Duran will be the main event of the fight card, which will be televised on ESPN2 for its weekly “Friday Night Fights” series.

The card is the first of four the casino has slated for 2009. Desert Diamond has started another contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions after a number of fight cards in recent years.

De La Hoya is expected to be in attendance Friday. Fights start at 7 p.m. The doors open at 6.

Duran (23-6-2) said he’s aware of Lopez’s popularity, although it’s not on the scale of De La Hoya’s. Duran also knows of Lopez’s recent success.

Lopez (37-12) is on a 13-fight win streak, seven of which have occurred at the Diamond.

“I can see that,” Duran said Thursday at the weigh-in, “It’s not a problem. Punches talk.”

Lopez said he’s ready and is expecting a tough fight from Duran, because he’s a “tough guy, a tough fighter, a good boxer.”

As for Duran’s name change, Lopez doesn’t find it unusual. He understands Duran was a good fighter and had his followers.

“I expect him to fight like Duran, and that’s what’s going to make it a good fight,” Lopez said.

Duran feels the same way. He figures with Lopez being a lefty, it will make for an unusual fight.

“But hey, I’ve fought the toughest guys,” Duran said. “I fought (undefeated James) Kirkland and I took him to 10 rounds (in a loss).”


Where: Desert Diamond Casino

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $35-100


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