Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Three professional boxing musketeers

‘A thousand-mile journey starts with a single step’, so says the old Chinese proverb. That seems to be applying to two of Botswana’s professional boxers, Kgotla Baeti and Lesly Sekotswe. It has been a long and tough road but it now looks like the light is coming out bit by bit for the duo. The two boxers are continuing to make waves in South Africa.

Sekotswe, who turned professional two years ago in Botswana is yet to lose a game from the seven bouts he has fought in. Baeti, on the other hand, has lost only one from the 17 under his belt. The duo is promoted by one of the world’s renowned promoters, Branco Milenkovic, and is under the tutelage of award winning trainer, Nick Durandt.

“As a foreigner in South Africa, it is difficult to secure fights on a regular basis, but the little we get we always excel. We are just remaining optimistic that something lucrative will come up at the end of the day,” said Baeti, who has been in South Africa for the past five years.

Baeti has since earned himself the nickname ‘Bang Bang’. He is named so because most of his fights are won through technical knockouts (TKOs). He has won three quarters of his fights on TKOs rather than going through the grueling rounds that range from six to twelve. Most of his opponents normally suffer his barrage of fists in either the first or second round. Some people even go to an extent of saying he is the next Mike Tyson, a former heavy weight champion from America.

He was definitely going to be the next Tyson if boxing in Botswana were professional or if he were a native of South African. After realising the bravery and skills of Baeti, South African trainers and promoters started looking for talent in Botswana and ended up inviting Sekotswe. Sekotswe went to South Africa with only three fights to his name. But upon arriving in South Africa, he took most professional boxers by storm and won all the four fights that followed. Now Sekotswe has since secured himself a sponsorship from one of the leading sports companies, Converse, something he cherishes the most. “It is tough to secure a sponsorship in South Africa as a foreigner. It is a big achievement for me and I am glad about that. Obviously, this means that converse has seen something in me and I hope this would go a long way while I am here in South Africa,” he said. On the other hand, another local boxer, Dintwa Sloca, is set to join the Durandt stable.

Dintwa, like Sekotswe, made a name for himself while at amateur ranks. He was one of the local boxers who believed it was not over until the last moment. Information reaching Sunday Standard is that Sloca will jet in to South Africa this week.

“I can confirm that I will be leaving for South Africa soon. I could have long gone but some technicalities always stood in my way and this time I am very happy with everything,” he told Sunday Standard. Meanwhile, one of Botswana’s local promoters, Thuso Khubamang, says plans are still underway for a title fight tournament for the first time in Botswana. He told Sunday Standard that he has been given two title fights by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), at a low cost and it will be held sometime in July.

“Main bouts of the day would be for Baeti and Sekotswe with yet to be identified opponents. Apart from the local boxers, we are expecting other boxers from countries like Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe,” he said.

Khubamang added that it took them some time to have a title fight because of some logistical problems in securing the television rights; and some people who could help were busy organising title fights in South Africa. Khubamang also added that there will also be ladies fights to grace the occasion. He added that of all the ladies that will be taking part, one will be from Botswana and is based in Francistown. Khubamang also stressed that several companies are more than willing to help. On the venue of the tournament, he said efforts are also still underway and they are yet to sit down and map the way forward.


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