Thankfully, his gamble paid off and he battered Banku over seven rounds, handing him the first loss of his career and he is GH¢105,000 richer as a result of his win.
Several key factors played a role in Samir’s most famous victory as a boxer and below are five of the reasons why he may have accepted that challenge and gone on to win the bout with a seventh round TKO;
1. Coach Ofosu Asare: Who developed a better strategy to halt Bukom Banku’s 29-fight unbeaten juggernaut than the man who as head coach of the national amateur boxing team (Black Bombers), took him to 1999 All-Africa Games organised in Johannesburg, South Africa where he won a bronze medal.
Banku himself credits coach Ofosu Asare for guiding him in the early stages of his career and going against the wishes of certain persons by sending him to the All Africa Games that year.
However, last Saturday they were in opposing corners and this time coach Asare used his knowledge of Banku’s boxing style to the benefit of his fighter and their tactics worked perfectly after a slow start.
It would be an understatement to say Bastie Samir stopped Bukom Banku because of the input and guidance of the men and woman in his corner.
Team Samir was led by Coach Ofosu Asare who was assisted by Ghanaian female boxing pioneer Naa Amerley Turkson.
2. Weight: For the first time in his last three bouts Bukom Banku weighed in under the required weight limit (90.7kg) and this co-incided with the first loss of his career.
Banku is notorious for weighing-in over the weight limit for his bouts, which most often progress as catch-weight contests which end in his favour.
Indeed, his arch-rival Ayittey Powers often attributes this to his successive losses to Banku.
Interestingly, his opponent Samir faced no ill-effects from having to move-up two weight from super-middleweight to cruiserweight for the clash. In fact, he wighed-in heavier (88kg) than Bukom Banku’s (87.5kg) for the clash.
3. Age: At age 37, Banku finds himself on the wrong-side of 30 and unless he plans to do a Bernard Hopkins (and keep fighting into his late forties), he is in the twilight of his career.
This was glaringly brought to the fore last Saturday as the usually fearless Banku (who normally fights with not much caution or defence) wilted under the powerful punches of Samir who at 31 is six years younger than Banku.
Banku proved no match for his younger opponent who was much more energetic throughout the bout.
4. Ring craft: Samir also badly exposed Bukom Banku’s lack of ringcraft (tactical skill and positioning in the boxing ring) on the way to his TKO stoppage. Even though Banku fought on the front-foot and was the aggressor in the early stages of the bout, his movement was zombie-like and predictable.
He employed the same forward motion that had served him well in the past but this time round his lack of defence and diverse movement was punished with stinging punches to his body and head.
5. Punching power: Banku’s superior punching power (22 KO’s in 29 bouts) justifies his reputation as a power-puncher and a knock-out artist but he finally “met his meeter” last Saturday at the Bukom Boxing Arena.
Asides from one moment in the second round where both fighters staggered each other in an exchange, Banku was on the wrong end of some powerful punches throughout the bout.
Ultimately, the power of Samir’s punches ensured that the bout ended before 12 a.m. Sunday. Banku visited the canvas twice during the clash – first in the third round when he was sent crashing into the ropes and finally in the seventh when a hook to his jaw left him on his backside.
Samir himself is no slouch when it comes to ending bouts prematurely as he recorded his 15th stoppage in 16 bouts with his latest win.