Khumiso Ikgopoleng who, for the fist time in his carrier, participated in the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) failed to make a mark in the tournament.
He took an early bow to Olympic silver medalist, Yankiel Leon, through an embarrassing 7-0, which meant he left the tournament without a single point to his name.
Ikgopoleng had qualified for the world cup through the Olympic Games where he did not win a medal but managed to reach the quarter finals but he then went down to Ugan Enkarbet of Mongolia. This ensured him a place in the tourney as he was in the top eight in the bantam weight (54kg) category.
“The score didn’t really reflect the contest because I fought very well but just didn’t quite get the scoring punches,” he told AIBA website after his loss to Leon. “I’m very proud to be participating in this tournament, not only representing Botswana but Africa as well. It is a privilege to be here and I can hold my head up high knowing I competed with the world’s best.”
Prior to the tournament he had lamented the lack of adequate preparation. He had participated in the Keone Mooka Mageu sponsored tournaments where he convincingly did well.
Did the Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) fail Ikgopoleng? BOBA’s Wilough Kemoen denied failing Ikgopoleng. He said that they could have organized for him some friendly bouts but around this time all countries’ boxing calendars have come to an end.
He said that the local boxing calendar was, however, active, adding that the fact that Ikgopoleng participated in the national boxing championships means he was active all along. Kemoen conceded, however, to being caught off guard.
“It’s the first time we have ever had a boxer participating in the AIBA World Cup, usually by this time all our activities would be over. Next time we will make sure we reschedule our calendar to accommodate the possibility of one of our Boxers participating in the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, BOBA were by Friday still not sure if Ikgopoleng had been knocked out of the tournament.
“We have not received any word from Ikgopoleng and his coach, Johannes Ditlhabang. We are clueless as to whether the World Cup is in a round robin format or a knock out format,” said Kemoen.
If the tournament is in a round robin format, it means Ikgopoleng will face other 7 boxers. If it’s the knock out format, it means he is out of the tournament.
As things stand, it appears more like it was a knock out format.