The arrival of Fox Sports and Africa Boxing on the shores of Botswana has brought a glimmer of hope for the local boxing fraternity which has long yearned to make it into the professional ranks.
Speaking in different interviews, local boxing officials, promoters and coaches expressed optimism that the newly found partnership will help the country’s talented boxers to make it into the paid ranks.
Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) President Thato Patlakwe says with the advent of pro boxing, opportunities will now open up for local boxers to make a living from their talent.
Asked whether this would not result with national teams losing athletes to professional boxing, Patlakwe said the country is churning out a lot of good boxers, some of whom never makes the national team.
“As much as we would like our best talent to make it into the national team and go to the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, the truth is not all of them can represent the country,” Patlakwe said.
“The arrival of professional boxing therefore means those who cannot make it into the national teams can try their hand in the paid ranks and make a living,” he said.
The BoBA president added that even for those who are part of the national team, the arrival of professional boxing would give them a chance to cross over to the professional setup once they quit the amateur ranks.
For his part, Thuso Khubamang of D-Scud boxing said the arrival of professional boxing will give local boxers a better chance to cross into the professional ranks.
“This is the best thing that has ever happened to this country. It is good for our boys and it definitely is good for our country,” Khubamang opined.
Having only got the opportunity to turn professional towards the twilight of his boxing career, ‘Scud,’ as Khubamang was affectionately called, said the arrival of pro boxing gives the current crop of boxers an opportunity never afforded to their predecessors.
“These boxers are blessed because they get these opportunities at a very young age. If you look at the boxers in my stable, all of them are under 23 years. By the time they reach the ages when the likes of Lesley Sekotswe and I turned pro, they would probably have won professional titles and living off professional boxing,” Khubamang said.
Bond Ngubula of Bond Promotions said the arrival of Fox Sports in the local arena was a welcome development. He however proposed that as part of their arrival in the country, Fox Sports should try and partner with local promoters to help them develop.
Having struggled to get more sponsors for fights staged under his Bond Promotions stable, Ngubula said he hopes the new hype brought by Fox Sports around professional in Botswana would inspire sponsors to come on board and fund locally promoted professional bouts.