Herbert Nkabiti’s camp is optimistic of securing a title fight for the boxer this year despite his first ever defeat last week Wednesday against South African Boitshepo Mandawe. His camp is confident of persuading promoters to organize a “long overdue” title bout.
Nkabiti has established strong links with acclaimed trainer Manny Fernandes. The two often work together when Nkabiti is in Johannesburg; the Botswana boxer is assisted by Fernandes through his BRD Boxing Academy and was his ring side trainer during last week’s bout.
Fernandes, the former Boxing SA Trainer of the Year, also has an allegiance with Golden Gloves Promotions head honcho Rodney Berman who is a keen admirer of Nkabiti. Larona Francis, Nkabiti’s manager and trainer, believes that connections with both Fernandes and Berman could help Nkabiti secure a title fight before the end of the year.
The local trainer revealed that they are in the process of reaching an agreement with Fernandes to recruit four Botswana based boxers to learn their trade in the professional ranks in South Africa. Francis stated that a partnership with the BRD stable is a possibility as he wants his protégés to get valuable experience in the neighbouring country.
Francis also discussed Nkabiti’s first defeat in his professional career. The 33 -year -old boxer lost his junior welterweight bout against Mandawe in the fifth round of what was expected to be an eight round battle.
The Motswana boxer started the match well, dominating the first two rounds with his powerful punches that forced his opponent to retreat to the ropes most of the time. His height advantage proved to be a nuisance for Mandawe in the earlier rounds of the fight.
Nkabiti started showing signs of fatigue in the third round. Mandawe capitalized on Nkabiti’s exhaustion by dominating the fourth round. Mandawe then won the bout a minute and five seconds before the completion of round five. Nkabiti signalled his inability to continue the match and the referee stopped the match, giving Mandawe a victory through a technical knockout (TKO).
Meanwhile, Francis revealed that Nkabiti was not in the best physical condition prior to the match. “He had a heavy flu problem two days before the match that resulted in breathing difficulties the following days. The breathing problems reoccurred during the fourth round of his fight. He was not in the best shape,” revealed Nkabiti’s manager and trainer.