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Rajab: The next big thing in boxing!

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TLOTLO KEBINAKGABO

Rajab Otukile has cemented his place as one of Botswana’s prized assets in local boxing with his continental exploits, following in the footsteps of Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza and Oteng Oteng.

Residing from Peleng, Lobatse, he marked his presence by winning a gold medal during the 2014 Africa Youth Games. He followed up that feat by winning a bronze medal during the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.

The 22 year old then endured a tough first year in the senior team. In 2016, he did not win a single major international competition medal. Otukile did not despair as he came back strong in 2017 by winning a silver medal in 52kg during the 2017 Africa Championships, which also qualified him for the 2017 AIBA World Championships.

He also participated in the 2018 Commonwealth Games team, whereby he did not win a medal. Rajab managed to turn things around this year by securing a silver medal in his category (52kg) during the BOCSKAI international boxing tournament in Hungary. He also won a gold medal at the African Games which were held in Morocco late August.

“This is all due to hard work in training and knowing what I want,” Rajab noted in a brief interview with this publication. “Qualifying for the Olympics is our dream (with my coach) because competing there would open doors for me.” He is coached by Keleagetse Ntong of the Mafika Boxing Club in Lobatse.

Oteng, who is also the last boxer to represent the country at the Olympics (London 2012), believes Rajab can qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics only if he goes through the proper preparation. “Preparing thoroughly would expose him to different boxing styles,” he noted in an interview with Gazette Sport. “Learning different boxing styles is important for a boxer because he or she fights different opponents. As for Rajab he must always be committed and focused because if he does so he will never go wrong in boxing.”

Namibian boxer Jonas Junias who is the only African to have won a gold medal in boxing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games believes that Otukile is going to be a force to reckon with in the world of boxing in the near future as he is focused, dedicated and hard working.

“And one can just tell by his physical appearance that he is a hard worker,” Junias said in an interview with Gazette Sport. “He is a good boxer and the sky is the limit for him. So far he is the best boxer in his category in Southern Africa. He must just keep his head up; he will make it.”

Just like Oteng, Junias is of the view that for Rajab to continue doing well he must remain focused. “And he must also know that boxing is not all power as most boxers thinks. No boxing is all about your brains and how you execute your skills and techniques,” he said.

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