Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) is impressed with the level of progress and talent that they have witnessed during the past three tournaments “local inter-clubs” they hosted since the return of sports a few months ago. This comes after the association held the inter-club championship at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in Palapye over the weekend where it attracted over 40 boxers from across the country.
This was the third inter-club of the year following the two that were previously held in Gaborone and Selibe Phikwe as part of the preparations for the national team selections set for next year. The Palapye tournament produced a total of 19 bouts (14 male and 5 female bouts) and 10 were walk overs as their opponents did not pitch up for the competition. In a recent interview with Gazette Sport, BOBA mouthpiece Moitshepi Nkabiti said they are thrilled with the growth and progress of the local boxers despite a long hiatus caused by COVID-19 complications.
“The boxers have shown a massive growth in their performance and the turnout said it all. The attendance was good, everyone is determined and they want to see themselves in the national team next year and credit must go to the clubs because they are all active and they have been bringing satisfying numbers. These tournaments are national team selection preparations and besides we keep the code active, we also intend to host as many tournaments as we can before the end of the year so that next year when they return, they are still in the right shape,” he said.
Kobamelo Molatlhegi of University of Botswana (UB) Boxing Club and Poloko Gabolekane of Glen Valley emerged the best boxers of the tournament in the male and female 51kg and 48kg bouts respectively after their exceptional performances on the day. Mmoloki Thipe of Prisons and Kagoetsile Raokgwathi’s under 60kg male contest was voted the best bout while Gabolekane and Jessica Maotoanong of Prisons’s 48kg bout captured the eyes of the audience including the technical team and was deemed as the female’s best bout. Glen Valley boxing club emerged the best team while Francistown and Prisons settled for joint 2nd while EMG and Molepolole finished on joint 3rd in the overall standing of the tournament.
However, the worth noting absentee in the tournament was Mafika boxing club which is captained by the Tokyo 2020 Olympian Mohammed Rajab Otukile due to lack of transport to Palapye as their team did not make necessary transport arrangements. Another Tokyo 2020 Olympian Keamogetse Kenosi never appeared in any local tournament since she returned from the Olympics and Nkabiti said they are hopeful that all their elite boxers will return to the ring soon.
“We are missing Kenosi at the tournaments and we are not that worried because we know she will come back once she is ready and Rajab has attended only one tournament since the Olympics, but we were happy to see Aratwa Kasemang and Mmusi Tswiige amongst the competitors after a long time and these young boxers get inspired when they see them competing,” added Nkabiti.
BOBA has a mammoth task ahead of them next year as they are supposed to assemble a team that is set to compete at the Commonwealth Games slated for Birmingham, England next year. Meanwhile the AUSC Region 5 Boxing team has departed to Maseru, Lesotho this morning with a team of 10 boxers (8 boys and 2 girls).