After brushing aside a Dominican Republic opponent 5-0 in the last 32, Molwantwa’s efforts to go further were frustrated by a bronze grade Olympic fighter from Ghana


A podium finish for Botswana’s last man standing at the just-ended IBA Men’s Boxing World Championships, George Molwantwa, was denied in the last 16 of the competition following a brilliant start.
Botswana was represented by five boxers at a tournament that attracted almost all countries in the world in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Botswana’s boxers, including Rajab Mahommed (52kg), Kobamelo Molatlhegi (48kg), Kagoetsile Raokgwathile (60kg), and Kabo Seitshiro (67kg) were knocked out in the first round and the last 32 respectively.

They were under the tutelage of coach Thebe Setlalekgosi.
Rajab’s last 16 hopes were dented by his Kenyan opponent, Macharia David Karanja, who won 5-0 in the process. Molwantwa became the only hope for Botswana to proceed further to the competitive stages.

Past Dominican, stopped by Ghanaian
Prior to the last 16, Molwantwa (57kg) had brushed aside his Dominican Republic opponent Perez Yabuk 5-0 in the last 32 to set up a meeting with the Ghananian Amadu Mohammed where he eventually lost by a unanimous decision after a hard earned draw.
In a post-match interview, Molwantwa said he was disappointed that he did not proceed to the quarterfinals even though he had fought well. “I tried my best and I approached every bout with a winning attitude, even though I did not finish on the podium,” he noted.
“Fighting against the best in the world always motivates and gives me confidence because I gauge my ability against them to do well and I honestly don’t know how I lost to my opponent.

Calibre and profile
“The calibre and profile of your opponent matters a lot in boxing, especially for match officials. In this case, my opponent’s profile was better than mine because he is an Olympics bronze medallist and was advantaged in most cases.”
For his part, Coach Setlalekgosi says there is need to fully prepare the team in advance, especially for tournaments of this magnitude.
“I have always maintained that for us to do well, we need to support our teams and athletes fully by sending them out to training camps and preparatory tournaments so they warm up and work on their mistakes prior to the main tournaments,” he told Gazette Sports.

Unnecessary pressure
“Convening athletes a week or two before the main tournament does not help them in any way but mounts unnecessary pressure on them. We have talented boxers who are capable of qualifying for next year’s Olympics in France.
“Now that we are done with the world championships, we are going back to the drawing boards to work on our weaknesses.”