Every boxer’s goal is to collect as many titles and belts as they can. True, there might be side ventures that develop from a boxer’s interests — investments here and there — but to completely depart the ring, give every opponent a “upper cut,” go “below the belt,” and give hens “jabs” is rather unusual. Nevertheless, “The Pocket Battleship” had to fulfill his fantasy.
Francis Ampofo, often known as “The Pocket Battleship,” was a former professional boxer from 1990 to 2002 who was born in Ghana on June 5, 1967. The Ghanaian British had one attempt to win the WBO flyweight title in 1994.
He twice held the British flyweight championship at the regional level from 1991 to 1994 and the Commonwealth flyweight championship from 1993 to 1955.
Ampofo moved from his natal city of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in southern Ghana, to the Bethnal Green district as a young child. He was drawn to the Hoxton Lion Club’s boxing section on Pitfield Street. He decided to learn self-defense through boxing. He did not have a particularly memorable amateur career overall, despite reaching the English flyweight semifinals of the ABA championships in 1989, where he was defeated by the well-known John Lyon (Greenall St. Helens), who at that time in his career had won seven national Senior ABA titles.
Ampofo made his professional debut in January 1990 at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, when he defeated Neil Parry over the course of six rounds. Ampofo elected to join Barry Hearn’s Match room promotion. Ampofo lost his second fight, a six-round contest against Welsh prodigy Robbie Regan in March 1990, also at York Hall, on points because there was a particularly strong crop of British flyweights at the time. Five matches later, in September 1991, he won the British flyweight championship.
Robbie Regan was stopped in the eleventh round of a twelve-round battle after colliding head-on, suffering a serious gash above his left eye that required 30 stitches. Ampofo successfully defeated James Drummond of Scotland by a score of 118.5-116 three fights after that to win the vacant flyweight championship at Grosvenor House in Mayfair in December 1992. Ampofo won the vacant Commonwealth flyweight championship in June 1993. He competed against South African Jake Matlala for the latter’s WBO title at York Hall a year later, in June 1994.
Ampofo retired after nine rounds of the scheduled twelve-round battle, considerably ahead of the champion. Ampofo, who was about 5 feet 1.5 inches tall, had a petite frame. Daniel Ward of South Africa took Ampofo’s Commonwealth championship in March 1996 by knocking him out in the twelfth and final round.
When Vince Feeney won the vacant Southern Area bantamweight belt in April 1997 by defeating Ampofo on points, there were still issues with titles. The situation got worse when Paul Lloyd of Merseyside defeated Ampofo in October 1997 by a score of 118-117.5 points to capture the Commonwealth title and the open British bantamweight belt. Ampofo last won a championship in January 1999 in Glasgow, as he fought Shaun Anderson of Scotland in the ninth round to take home the vacant IBO Inter-Continental bantamweight crown. His overall end ring record probably didn’t do him justice, but he did hold the British and Commonwealth champion titles twice, which is a noteworthy feat in any fighter’s book.
Ampofo is now a dedicated farmer who concentrates all of his efforts on growing his chicken farm, which is now his source of income, years after all of this, a time well spent in the ring. With the money he made from boxing, he made investments that allowed him to expand his poultry farm, which now produces 2,500 eggs daily.