Monday, August 8, 2022

Gloves on as four vie for the BoBA presidential title

As all heavyweight fights go, no shoeshines will be expected in the battle for the soon to be vacant Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) presidential title.

This is expected to be a blow-by-blow slugfest.

Twenty-four days from today on August 28th, heavyweight contenders Gilbert Khunwane, Moremi Lefiri, Dirang Thipe and Michael Moroka will square off for the BoBA presidential title vacated by current holder Dr Thato Patlakwe.

After serving two concurrent terms, Patlakwe, who for the duration of his tenure was viewed as an outsider, decided not to seek re-election, paving way for the well decorated contenders to make a bid for his presidential title.

All of the four candidates are seasoned administrators with impressive track records in boxing and boxing administration.

Leading the title contenders will be Khunwane, who for the past two years has served under Patlakwe as vice president after being co-opted to the position in 2019.

‘Ghisto,’ as Khunwane is affectionately known, is a former national team boxer and has represented the country at numerous international competitions, including the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

A former regional Zone 6, then zone 4 champion, the 1999 Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) sportsperson of the year has also won the country medals at continental as well as commonwealth level.

Following his failed bid to make the Athens 2004 Olympics, Khunwane hanged his gloves in 2005 and thereafter went into coaching and became the national team assistant coach.

Khunwane then ventured into administration and was the BoBA vice president under now fellow contender Moroka from 2012 to 2014. He then went into boxing wilderness until he was recalled in 2019 to take the position from which fellow contender Thipe was unceremoniously fired.

Interestingly, among those seeking the BoBA presidential belt is Khunwane’s fellow committee member and current secretary general Lefiri. Having served as the secretary general, Lefiri seeks to step up and has eyed the highest position.

While Lefiri does not have the inside ring experience of Khunwane and Thipe, Lefiri however packs an administration punch, something which garnered him a position in the current BoBA executive.

As the BoBA secretary general, Lefiri was literally the most powerful man in the administration behind the president.

Like Khunwane, the third contender, being Thipe, is a former national team boxer who has represented the country at regional and continental level before joining coaching and administration after hanging gloves in 2007.

As a 2 Star AIBA rated coach, Thipe served as the BoBA vice president technical from 2010 to 2012. He then ascended ranks to serve as the BoBA secretary general from 2013 until 2015.

He was then voted BoBA vice president within then current committee but his stay was short-lived and he was ousted from his position after long running battles with fellow committee members and in particular current president Patlakwe.

Rounding off the star studded BoBA presidential title contenders is none other than former referee, former BoBA vice president, former BoBA president and current Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) board member Moroka.

Like Lefiri, Moroka may not carry an inside ring heavy punch but he surely does carry one of the heaviest administrative punches of the lot.

Moroka came to prominence as a well renowned local boxing before being voted as the BoBA vice president. While serving there, he was also elected as the regional Zone 6 boxing president.

He then ascended to be the BoBA president, albeit for a single term before he lost his position to the current president Patlakwe.

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