Monday, May 16, 2022

National team boxers fail championships final test

The road to the 10th edition of the Botswana National Boxing championships claimed some of its biggest scalps this past weekend as some of the country’s elite amateur boxers were eliminated.

Among those who fell by the wayside are commonwealth bronze medalist Tirafalo Seoko as well as fellow national team player, Mmoloki Nogeng, while reigning national champion Bathusi Mogajane and fellow national team boxer Moabi Mothiba could not take part during the weekend due to family commitments.

Seoko could not even make it into the finals after he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Michael Rantsho in a closely-fought bout that saw the latter win by a slim margin of 7 ÔÇô 6.
Nogeng on the other hand only made it into the semifinals where he lost 6 ÔÇô 8 to Mpotsang Gaolatlhe. The absence of these seasoned boxers means they will not only miss the National championships this coming Saturday at the UB Student Union Hall but will also miss out on BOBA’s end of the year ‘Best of the Best tournament’ due on November 21 ÔÇô 22.

Despite the absence of most of the national team boxers who have just returned from the Commonwealth games, Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) spokesperson, Willoughby Kemoen says ‘very interesting bouts are expected during the championship finals as boxers will be seeking to impress to be considered for the national team.’

Speaking in an interview with Telegraph Sport, Kemoen said the latest development serves as a challenge to national team boxers if they are to hold on to their national team places.
“This shows the growth of local boxing as well as the strength of our national team setup,” Kemoen said.

While all round bruising encounters are expected in the finals, many will watch with keen interest at least four bouts that seem likely to produce epic and entertaining clashes. Among the fights will be that of former national team athletes Thato Batshegi and Rantsho in the 56 kg category. The two were also team mates at Jwaneng Boxing club before Batshegi left for his current club, GVBC.

Buoyed by his victory over Seoko, Rantsho will be seeking to prove that his win over the commonwealth bronze medalist was not a fluke. Against the hard hitting Batshegi however, he will find the going very tough. Batshegi, affectionately called ‘Hands of Stone’ is a power puncher who is known not to shy away from a brawl in the ring. Another bout that is likely to be interesting will be in the 64 kg category between Gomotsang Gaasite and Lentswe Zwinila. The encounter will be a clash of styles as Zwinila, popularly known as ‘the Raging Bull’ likes in-fights whereas Gaasite likes playing the ring.

The latter boasts of good footwork, nice combinations and sleek combinations. Gaasite will have to avoid being cornered if he wants to win the bout while Zwinila will have to cut the ring and his opponent’s movement to force him into a close fight where he can have an upper hand.

The other bout that will be closely watched will be in the 52kg category between Oteng Oteng and Kgomotso Bok. The latter will be seeking to cause an upset by beating Oteng, who is a commonwealth games’ bronze medalist. The bout between Oratile Kgalaeng and Molatlhe Thapelo in the 49 kg category is also likely to get attention mainly to see how Kgalaeng will fare.

At only 17 years, Kgalaeng is showing tremendous potential. Speaking of this young talent, Kemoen said the youngster is an epitome of local boxing’s development programme. Meanwhile, Kemoen said all is in order for the championships this weekend. The championships will start with weigh in and medical checkups in the morning while the bouts will start at 2pm.

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