Botswana’s developmental national boxing team defied expectations as they came third overall at the just ended 4th Africa Boxing Cup.
The tournament, which was held in Gaborone, came to an end on Friday last week.
The inexperienced team exceeded even the expectations of their coach, Thebe Setlalekgosi, as they garnered seven medals, among them a gold medal, four silvers and two bronze medals.
Leading Botswana’s medal charge was Light Fly Weight (46 – 49 kg) division pugilist, Mooketsi Lekgetho, who got the country its only gold medal. After an impressive quarter final bout that saw him slightly edging out Algeria’s Meziane Ahmed by 13 points to 12 three days earlier, ‘Tornado’, as Lekgetho is affectionately called in the local boxing circuit, stepped up his fight in the final, convincingly beating South Africa’s Lebogang Pilane.
Being the first of local men boxers to get into the ring, the youngster paved the way for the night with a scintillating performance that won him admiration from the partisan local crowd. After winning the first two rounds of his bout by slim margins of 6 ÔÇô 5 and 8 ÔÇô 6, the youngster showed a lot of heart and intentions in the final round as he punished his opponent to pull a convincing win.
Perhaps buoyed by the chants of his name ‘Tornado’ that echoed from the partisan home crowd, Lekgetho was the personification of the real ‘Tornado’ as he tore apart Pilane to win the last round by 10 points to 2, thus ultimately winning the bout by 24 ÔÇô 3 to claim the gold.
In other bouts involving local boxers, Botswana’s Marshall Mokgwaela, fighting in the Fly Weight (52 kg) category, lost his fight against Lavigilante Olivier of Mauritius. Despite a brave showing by the local Mokgwaela, the local lad was no match for the Olympic bound Mauritian who outclassed him 16 ÔÇô 5 to take the gold. Mokgwaela lost 2 ÔÇô 7, 1 -5 and 2 ÔÇô 4 in three successive rounds.
In the bantam weight (56 kg) category, Botswana’s Tirafalo Seoko was at the receiving end from another Olympic bound boxer, Ayabonga Sonjica. Seoko found the going tough against the South African, with the latter seeming to enjoy punishing Seoko. Despite being beaten 8 ÔÇô 4 in both the first two rounds, Seoko showed character in the third round as he charged the South African, only to lose the last round 6 ÔÇô 5.
In the middle weight (75 kg) category, Zibane Chikanda of Botswana lost to Algeria’s Tabi Sofiane by 20 ÔÇô 12. The Algerians dominance over Botswana in the bigger weight categories continued in the Light Heavyweight (81 kg) where Tsenang Mohuhutso lost 10 ÔÇô 18 to Kalaouar Hichem. The results means the Algerians, who in overall won four gold medals and a silver, were crowned the 4th Africa Boxing Cup champions, followed by Mauritius who garnered two gold medals, whilst Botswana’s impressive array of a gold medal, four silvers and two bronzes placed the country third in overall standings.