Local professional boxer Onkarabile Mothibedi is a man not at ease. Nine (9) months since that historic day in November 2020 when he became the country’s first professional boxing title holder, ‘Scara,’ as Mothibedi is affectionately known, is yet to defend his belt.
The local boxer’s fears are not misplaced. He got a shot at the title after it was stripped from its previous holder after he had failed to defend it within the required time period. According to the WBF rules, a title holder should, within six (6) to eight (8) months of winning a belt, have a title defence.
However, because of the on and off suspension of sporting activities due to the ongoing coronavirus, Mothibedi has not had a chance to defend his title as scheduled.
The WBF African Bantamweight champion’s first title defence, which would have been played in front of no spectators, was scheduled for May earlier this year against fellow local Moabi Ngaka. The rise of covid cases however led to the fight being postponed to this month (August 2020).
And just when a glimmer of hope seemed on the horizon, Mothibedi’s dream of defending his title took a knock as his title defence was yet again postponed, this time to October later in the year.
Now, ‘Scara’ awaits nervously to see whether his scheduled title defence will proceed as expected or will be halted again. “I do not want this belt to be taken away from me that simple, I want to fight for it even if I lose the fight at least it will be through the best way,” he says.
While the boxer is rightly worried, boxing promoter Thuso Khubamang of Scud Missile Promotion, the company which hosts the fight, is optimistic the boxer will not suffer the ignominy of having his title stripped away for failing to defend it.
“We have had talks with World Boxing Federation (WBF) alongside Professional Boxing Association Botswana (PBAB) that due to covid-19 the belt should not be taken away but he will fight for it when sport resumes in our country,” Khubamang says.
For Mothibedi however, this assurance cannot ease his worries. He believes that if the halt on sport is not lifted anytime soon, WBF may end up changing their decision and taking the belt away to countries where sport is very much active.
“Honestly I am not okay, I wish there was a way we could just fight because I am spending a lot of money just on training. The whole year I have been paying the gym and on diet with the belief that the fight is near, and now I realise am just doing it for nothing,” Mothibedi sadly said.