Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Baeti faces acid test in South Africa’s Tshetlha

Normally, we judge people’s resolve by appreciating their resilience under pressure, hardly ever when the going is smooth. This applies to Botswana’s prospering professional boxer, Kgotla Baeti. Baeti will on Thursday (July 05) be embroiled in a fight which he says is the toughest for him since turning professional a few years ago.
Baeti will slug it out with South Africa’s most experienced and award winning boxer, Anthony Tshetlha, at Empire’s palace in Johannesburg.

Tshetlha boasts of 35 fights in which he lost only six. Tshetlha is also a former WBC and WBA champion. He is also a former South African junior light weight champion.

Baeti, on the other hand, has fought in only 13 fights, losing only one. Baeti told The Sunday Standard from Johannesburg that the fight will be his toughest ever taking into account Tshetlha’s record, which he said speaks for itself.

“This is where people should really judge me because it is a tough match-up and is clearly another phase of my boxing career. I have high respect for Tshetlha and I will not be expecting an easy fight. However, he must be warned, I am also prepared for him both physically and technically. I have also watched a few of his fights and know both his strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

Baeti is elated to have the opportunity to do battle with a renowned champion saying he will learn a lot.

Tshetlha must brace himself for the grudge encounter because Baeti might embarrass him like he did with other boxers before. Of the 12 fights he fought in, he won 11 via technical knockouts while the other one was won on points. If Tshetlha is not properly prepared for the fight, he might not see the end of the first round. Baeti told The Sunday Standard that Tshetlha better be careful lest he might lose by a technical knock. The only international boxer renowned for technical knockouts is former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, and Baeti is keen to follow in Tyson’s knockout escapades.

On how he lost his fight about a month ago, Baeti said although he accepts the loss, there was a lot of controversy after the fight. He pointed out that he lost it on disputed points, something that did not go down well with his trainers. Nevertheless, he said he was not in peak form because he did not have a sparring partner prior to the game. Baeti said that he suffered a cut above an eye and that forced him to stop training for about a week. By the time he got in the ring, he said, he was not as sharp as his opponent was.

“I do not want to sound like a bad loser, but a lot was involved in that fight. Even some of the decisions the referee of the day took left a lot to be desired. But as a professional boxer, I have let bygones be bygones and the situation has made me even tougher. In the next fights, I will show people my real colours,” he said.

Meanwhile, another local boxer, Lesley Sekotswe, looks set to follow in Baeti’s footsteps. About three weeks ago, he won his fourth fight in South Africa by technical knockout. Sekotswe defeated one of South Africa’s strongest boxers, Peter Ndou. The fight only took two minutes and forty seconds. Sekotswe told The Sunday Standard that since the fight was in South Africa and televised on Supersport channels, many people have taken note of him. He said after the fight, many people made enquiries about him because they could not believe the talent he possesses.

“The fight has opened doors for me to land more fights. There is a possibility for me to land about four fights before the end of the year and that would be a great achievement since I just came to South Africa recently. But if all goes well I will not disappoint Batswana and I will continue to do well like Baeti,” he said.

Sekotswe also took his hat off to his trainer, Nick Durandt, whom he said has been good to him since he landed in South Africa.

Sekotswe called on other local professional boxers not to despair saying the future is bright for local boxing and Botswana might end up like South Africa. Since turning professional in 2005, Sekotswe has won all of his four fights. He is remembered for being the first local boxer to win a gold medal at the 2001 Africa Champions’ Tournament when he was an amateur.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.