Despite uncertainty over the sponsorship of his fight, local boxer Kgotla ‘Bang Bang’ Baeti, is optimistic he can give Botswana its first ever professional world boxing title.
In a first for Botswana, the local lad has been given a shot at the World Boxing Federation (WBF) lightweight title while the country has also been given the opportunity to host its first ever world title fight.
“Physically, I am ready for the fight. I want to win it and I want to do it for my country and for my people,” Baeti informed Standard Sport from his base in South Africa.
The pugilist, however, admitted that uncertainty over sponsorship to host the event is affecting him psychologically.
“When I was given the title fight, we decided that it should be hosted in Botswana. I wanted Batswana to be part of history, to witness first hand a local boxer in a title fight. I want to win it in my own country,” he told Standard Sport.
Baeti, now training with Undisputed Fitness Gym after parting ways with trainer Colin Nathan of Hot Box gym, is billed to face undefeated Alan Paredes of Peru.
“If I do win this title, I will then try to defend it very well. Winning and defending it will give me the opportunity to fight more illustrious opponents and to try and unify the world titles, which will be my main aim,” he said.
The hard hitting southpaw lightweight, who was once likened to WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan of Britain, says his title bout will open ways for other upcoming local boxers who dream of turning professional. On why he parted ways with Nathan, Baeti informed Standard Sport that he did it out of consideration for his own professional progress.
While expressing gratitude at Hot Box gym for what they did, the local lad says he felt that not having a title fight was detrimental to his career. He says his change of gyms has paid dividends as he has now been given a title fight.
Baeti, aptly dubbed ‘Bang Bang’, for knocking the lights out of his opponents in the ring, has as of now fought 22 professional fights, winning 19, losing 2 and drawing a single fight. 16 of his 19 wins came by the way of knock outs.
Meanwhile, Baeti’s local promoter, Pako Baitsile, says they are facing enormous challenges while trying to source sponsors for the fight. Speaking in an interview, Baitsile said they have not yet found people to sponsor the event. He, however, says negotiations are underway with some interested companies and departments to sponsor the fight. According to Baitsile, hosting the bout will help promote Botswana internationally, and more especially in Latin America where Paredes comes from.
“Peru has shown interest in acquiring broadcasting rights from whoever holds them, in this case Botswana Television (BTv) who are keen to acquire them. This will mean the country will have the opportunity to market itself in Peru and Latin America,” the promoter added.
He further said whoever decides to sponsor the fight will, besides acquiring the fight’s naming rights, also have the opportunity to advertise in designated areas of the ring where he will get maximum exposure.
The sponsors will also have a say on the venue of the fight, which has not been decided as of now.
Should Baeti win the fight, Baitsile says they will try and ensure that most of his fights thereafter are hosted in Botswana.