There was no shortage of drama and exhilaration as new history was written during this year’s Keone Mooka Mageu National Championships held at the Tsholofelo Community Hall this past weekend.
Aside from the hard fought bouts that produced some film-reel moments and drama, for the first time in the history of Botswana boxing finals, women boxers were part of the show.
While there were stand-out bouts all afternoon, the highlight reel was the upset in the men’s finals’ fourth bout between the hard hitting Thato Batshegi who was upstaged by a relatively unknown teenager, Kagiso Bagwasi in the Light weight category. While a tight fight was expected between the two pugilists, local boxing fans were not expecting the sight that unraveled before them.
As was expected, Batshegi started the bout on the offensive, trying to catch the youngster. However, Bagwasi had the latter’s number as he avoided Batshegi’s flurry, while picking him with powerful and precise punches that disoriented his opponent. While on the back foot more often during the first round, Bagwasi’s composure and calmness were the key as he managed to keep his cool under attack, while landing the most solid punches, which occasionally sent Batshegi into the ropes.
Things went awry for Batshegi in the second round and any thought of a comeback from him was an elusive dream as the young upstart outfoxed and out punched him. While Batshegi was still the aggressor, he failed to connect with the youngster who continued lashing at him with precise punches, culminating with Batshegi having two standing counts during the round.
With the hard hitting teenager now on the ascendency and Batshegi now outpunched and outfoxed into disbelief, the referee had no option but to stop the fight. More drama followed after the fight as Batshegi threw off his regalia, something deemed as retirement in the boxing fraternity.
Apart from this bout, another bout that caught the eye was a closely fought third bout that saw Boitumelo Taolo slightly edge out Ryan Seakolo 16 ÔÇô 15 in the men’s Bantam Weight category.
In the other men’s bouts of the day, Mooketsi Lekgetho beat Oratile Kgalaeng 25 ÔÇô 13 in the Light Fly Weight category, Kabelo Bagwasi defeated Tefo Rammupudu 18 ÔÇô 16 in the Fly Weight division while Oratile Segokgo beat Kutlwano Mosekaphofu in the Light Welter weight category.
In the history making women’s finals, the best bout had to go to the Women’s Middle Weight encounter between Pearl Morake and 14-year-old Katlego Olatotse. While Morake won the encounter 15 ÔÇô 13, Olatotse gave her more than she can handle, going with her pound for pound through their encounter.
At one point, the youngster looked to have had Morake’s number and when the final bell rang, even the better experienced Morake was not sure whether she had won it. Other bouts in the women’s category were as follows; Joyce Katlholo beat Lesego Elijah 13 ÔÇô 12 in the Light Fly Weight, Dipogiso Koketso beat Ontlafetse Mosime 19 ÔÇô 14 in the Fly Weight category, Joyce Moilwa beat Keamogetswe Kenosi 21 ÔÇô 12 in the Light Weight category while Keneilwe Rakhudu defeated Letswai Keabetswe to take the plaudits in the Light Welter Weight category.
Meanwhile, in the individual awards, Kagiso Bagwasi walked away as the Boxer of the Tournament while his brother, Kabelo Bagwasi was voted the most promising boxer. The best bout award went to the Light Fly Weight encounter between Lekgetho and Kgalaeng.