FLOYD KLUTEI ROBERTSON Professional Life Story After Moving To the United Kingdom in June 1958
In Belfast, Ireland, he came under the management of Briere’s who lost no time in organizing fights for him. In his very first month in Belfast, he conquered Lee Harvey in the distance. The unexpected defeat of the local hero sparked off an array of local boxers all wishing to fight him, Jim Fisher, Joe Quinn, Mount Bassie, Phil McGrath, Gilbert Neil, Tenti Routinea, John Garett, Sergio Capari and John Smillee came and fell one after another.
On February 5, 1959, he stopped Roy Jacobs, the number two contender to the Empire (Commonwealth) featherweight title. But instead of giving him the chance to fight the titleholder, the boxing authorities refused to give him the opportunity. No other boxer was also willing to fight him.
Not having any fights, he was forced to live on charity.
He was at a point forced into abandoning the ring and seeking a job in Italy. He succeeded in getting a lucrative job, but to his surprise, his manager refused to allow him to take up the job. Floyd was later to praise his manager for his foresight because he would have said goodbye to boxing had he taken up the job.
Around this time, a vacancy was created in the rankings for the Empire title; Floyd was invited to fight Percy Lewis, the number three contender to the title.
Though he lost on points to Lewis, his performance s impressed the boxing gurus that they promised him a shot at the world title. Meanwhile, Percy Lewis had dethroned the reigning champion. He was thus compelled to stake his title against Floyd.
With boundless zeal, he entered the ring on that night victory of November 29, 1960, at Empress Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland saying “I know a defeat for me will be a defeat for Ghana, and a victory for me will be a for Ghana”. Lewis after surviving a shaky first round was on top throughout to the end of the ninth round. From the tenth round, however, the Ghanaian changed style and began what became the grand final.
He quickly brushed aside the 33-year old Canadian Southpaw’s lead and on a number of occasions sent him wriggling desperately to escape from a knock-out, especially in the eleventh, twelfth, and fourteenth rounds. At the end of the fifteenth and last round, it was clear Floyd had won. Jack Hart the referee of the fight did not hesitate in declaring Floyd the champion.
Thus he became the thirteenth wearer of the featherweight belt created in 1908. He also become the third West African, after the Ghanaian Roy Ankrah (1951 1952) and Nigerian Hogan Bassey (1955-1957), who relinquished his title on becoming World Champion, to win the title. With the active support of the CPP government, he was given a shot at the world title. It was for this title that he wrestled with Ramos at the Accra Sports Stadium on that fateful night of May 9, 1964.
The disappointment which visited Floyd in that fight so affected him that from then on, he became a pale shadow of himself. When he took on Vicente Saldivar of Mexico the following year, in another world title bout, he fared rather poorly. His quest for a world boxing garland thus ended.
Soon after that fight, weight problems began to trouble him. He, however, managed to successfully defend his Commonwealth title three times against Love Allotey and Joe Tetteh, both Ghanaians. His fourth and what became his last defense was against 30-year old Scot Johnny O’Brien.
Everything that was necessary for him to rise to that high was there. The crowd was nearly as great as that which cheered him on in his world title fight with Sugar Ramos. For a good measure, four members of the National Liberation Council were there at the ringside.
Then began the fight. In eleven rounds, the boxers traded blow for blow. In the twelve rounds, the champion sent the challenger to the canvass with a left look to his solar plexus. Then came the bell for the thirteenth round and from the champion’s corner came “Miyaa” (Ga language) which translates I would not go. Not even the push by the trainer, Sergeant Iddi, would make Floyd stand up for the next round.
Thus ended the fight with Floyd easily giving out his belt to O’Brien. Floyd pointed out later: “I felt so tired that my feet turned to rubber and refused to carry me. I, therefore, decided to call it quits, even though I was not hurt much by O’Brien’s blows.” Critics, however, lamented:
Floyd’s defeat was due to the fact that he took life easy after the Salvidar bout and will not train. His laziness in not training contributed to his gaining weight; thus he was forced to lose 16.5 kilos before his final fight.
After losing his featherweight title Floyd moved to the lightweight division. After two unsuccessful fights, he retired from active boxing and took to training young boxers as coach of the National Sports Council.
Until his death on November 23, 1982, he was the chief coach at the National Sports Council and also the chief trainer of Azumah Nelson. He was survived by his wife Christiana and four children.