Botswana boxing mourns Maitewa

Portia Mlilo
RIP: Tefo Maitewa

One of Botswana boxing’s brightest young talents, Tefo Maitewa will be laid to rest at his home village of Molepolole this Sunday.

Diagnosed with brain cancer in June, the 22-year-old passed away peacefully in his hospital bed at Scottish Livingstone Hospital last Friday.

Widely regarded as one of the country’s greatest prospects and tipped to make his mark on the international scene, Maitewa’s death leaves a huge void in local boxing.

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The reigning national champion in his weight category (U/56kg) and a popular member of Molepolole Boxing Club, Maitewa had his sights set on qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics when his devastating illness hit.

In an emotional interview with Voice Sport, Boxing National Team Coach, Master Luza described the fallen fighter as a unique talent who was both brave and dedicated.

“He had the heart of a lion. As the only southpaw (left-handed) boxer in the national team set-up, he was indeed a unique talent. This is a great loss!” exclaimed an anguished Luza.

Reminiscing Maitewa’s rise in the sport, the coach said, “I have been following him since 2016 at the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 in Angola when he was part of the junior team. He did very well and it was only him and Boifang Kenaope who brought home medals.

“In 2018 he was Mahommed Rajab Otukile’s sparring partner at the Commonwealth Games. He went to represent the country last year at the Olympic qualifiers at Senegal. He was a very committed boxer who was always taking instructions accordingly and we were hoping for more in his career.”

In a moving tribute to his close friend, Otukile told Voice Sport that Maitewa was a tough man in the ring but extremely loving and friendly away from it.

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“We always shared a room during training camps. He was like a little brother to me. He was a special boxer and he was coming up well. We will always remember him with a cheerful smile,” concluded Otukile.

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