Friday, October 30, 2020

Boxing championship finals live to expectations

The Botswana Boxing Associations (BOBA) national championship finals lived to expectations as local boxers dished out some entertaining encounters during the weekend.

With the exception of the 52 kg bout between Oteng Oteng and Kgomotso Bok as well as the 81 kg bout between Oteng Phatshwe and Tsenang Mohuhutso, which were lopsided, all the other bouts were close and could have gone either way.

Oteng defeated Bok 8 ÔÇô 0 to claim his bout while the referee had to intervene and stop the fight between Phatshwe and Mohuhutso with the latter at the receiving end of a hail of punches from Phatshwe.

As expected, a very fierce battle was in the 56 kg bout between former stable mates and national team athletes, Thato Batshegi and Michael Rantsho.

Buoyed by his win over Commonwealth bronze medalist, Tirafalo Seoko, in the quarter finals, Rantsho came into the bout full of confidence and looked set to beat Batshegi and cause an upset as early as the first round. Being the shorter of the two, Rantsho knew his only chance of claiming the bout was in close fights and did exactly what is expected as he attacked his opponent from the word go.
With Batshegi failing to keep him at bay his height and reach advantage, Rantsho forced the later into in fights where he used tactical combinations to unsettle Batshegi and score crucial points.

In the second of the three scheduled rounds, Batshegi came to his senses and started using his reach advantage, using nice jabs to unsettle Rantsho. He, however, lost the plot again as he allowed Rantsho to corner him into an in fight, which made the latter to score crucial points while he (Batshegi) lost a point for hitting behind the head, leaving him 7 ÔÇô 8 behind Rantsho at the end of the round.

It was all to fight for in the third round with both boxers showing intent to win. With both boxers doing what they could to win, the fight degenerated into a heated brawl with both boxers twice landing on the floor on top of each other.

The two got involved in a toe to toe fight, which saw Rantsho race into a sizable points lead.
Batshegi, however, fought his way back but it was too little too late as he went on to lose the bout 15 -17.

Another bout which caught the eye was in the 60 kg category between Gaolatlhe Mpotsang and Onalenna Rasesa. The two, equal on height and strength, dished out an interesting and very tactical match that was a display of clashing styles with Mpotsang good on attack while Rasesa is solid on defense.

Mpotsang charged into attack at the start of the first round but could not get past Rasesa’s defense.

The latter, while on retreat, used his solid defense and nice combinations on counter attack to score points which put him 3 ÔÇô 2 ahead of Mpotsang by the end of the second round.

Things, however, changed in the third and final round as Rasesa lost steam under relentless attack from Mpotsang, with the latter racing to an 8 ÔÇô 6 win.

In other bouts, Gomotsang Gaasite beat Lentswe Zwinila to claim the 64 kg category while Nkatlholang Sambere defeated Keoagile Rantutu in the 69 kg category.

The 75 kg bout was won by Zibani Chikanda who beat Keolopile Gabaikanngwe, while 17-year-old Oratile Kgalaeng defeated Thapelo Molatlhe to claim the 49 kg category.

In team and individual prizes, EMG Boxing Club was voted the best team with their coach Mothusi Taele walking away with Best Coach award.

Both were winning for the second consecutive year. Oteng Oteng was named Best Boxer while Irene Ntelamo walked away with the best judge award.

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