Saturday, December 3, 2022

Rivalries add more entertainment to interclub boxing championships

As international competitions approach, local boxers continue to give national selectors a hard time.

Unlike in the previous years, it has now become difficult to predict the results of boxing matches as boxers and clubs seek to impress ahead of national team matches and the newly sponsored Debswana Boxing Awards.

Of recent, local boxing fans have been treated to exciting boxing matches, which stretch back to the past season.

According to Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA)’s Publicity and Information Secretary, Willoughby Kemoen, among the most interesting matches have been the fights between the likes of Delhi Commonwealth bronze medallist, Tirafalo Seoko, and Alphions Farmer, Oteng Oteng against Kgomotso Bok, just to mention a few.

While the performance of Farmer has led to some predicting that he will replace Seoko in the national team, the fights between Oteng and Bok have been sparking a lot of interest among boxing followers. The two rivalries, which were amplified during last year’s national championships and the Best of the Best tournaments, have spilled over into this year’s interclub championships.

Speaking in an interview, Kemoen said the improvement of performance by individual boxers and clubs will bring a new dimension in the competitiveness of the national team.

“We have always maintained that there is no, and can never be a permanent member of the national team. Boxers have heard that and they are keen to prove themselves,” Kemoen said.

The BOBA Publicity Secretary says this latest development is the reason why they called two boxers per category for the tentative national team, which outclassed South Africa in a friendly during the past weekend.

He hailed all the 11 boxers who took part in the friendly against South Africa, saying they all did well.

Kemoen maintained that as they seek to improve the performance of the national team, no boxer will be sidelined as none is also safe from being purged off the team.

Another incentive for the improved performance, according to Kemoen, is the introduction of the best club category in the boxing awards, adding that clubs are eager to impress and are sending in more boxers to compete in the championships.

“During our first interclub championships at the University of Botswana, we had 32 competitive bouts. This happened again in our last interclub championships in Kang when we had yet another 32 bouts,” Kemoen continued. He further said they are currently gathering data to see which of the clubs will be considered for the best club awards. Kemoen said in contrast to the past where only boxers qualified for national championships and Best of the Best tournaments, best performing clubs will also get to qualify for the National Boxing league, for which the boxing association is still trying to solicit sponsors.

Meanwhile, the BOBA spokesperson says boxing continues to grow as more clubs join the association. The development has seen interclub championships being hosted in different parts of the country so as to accommodate all clubs and to attract and encourage the formation of new ones. He asserts that this growth will enhance the competitiveness of boxing in the country.

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