Local boxers kick started their 2016 Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) season with their interclub boxing championship this past weekend in Gaborone.
The tournament pitted boxers from nine different clubs from all four corners of the country as they competed for honors in various categories. Mafika Boxing Club was too strong for host and defending champions Debswana Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) boxing club; recording a total of six wins through Willox Garethaba, Thabane Mothanke, Johnson Kulubei, Kitso Molebo and Bakang Rakhudu out of 21 bouts.
DTCB and national team coach Thebe Setlalekgosi said he was happy with his youthful squad’s performance, though they won only three bouts. He commended them for their fighting spirit and determination even against seasoned and more experienced opponents.
“I fielded a na├»ve but ardent squad and we started training just a week prior to the tournament. But their performance was out of this world, they fought like lions and I want them to make it to the junior national team. They are very talented,” said Setlalekgosi.
He explained that he was impressed by 17 year old Nlisi Kgakgamatso who fought against veteran boxer Tirafalo Seoko in the under 56KG, adding that the rookie did very well despite losing 2-1.
“That’s a true reflection of determination in my team,” said Setlalekgosi
Meanwhile, Tirafalo Seoko of BMC Boxing Club said he is trying to regain his long lost form that cost him a place in the national team. He expressed hope that his first win of the season will enable him to regain his place in the national team.
“I am wary of young talent because they pose a big threat to the experienced boxers. I came to this tournament kind of rusty, but I will work on my weaknesses going forward because this is going to be a hectic year in boxing,” he said.
In another exciting match, Kefentse Molalapata of University of Botswana (UB) threw an avalanche of punches to clinch a win against Thabo Mpolokeng of 1.2.5 boxing club in the under 60kg category. DTCB coach Thebe Setlalekgosi said the interclub tournaments are meant to identify boxers who will represent the country in continental and international tournaments. Meanwhile the national team boxers like Kabelo Bagwasi, Zibani Chikanda, and Keneilwe Rakhudu were amongst the notable absentees in the tournament as they were given time to rest following their participation at the Zone 4 championships that were held in Mozambique last week. The team is currently in camp preparing for the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers that are slated for Morocco next month.