BW boxers busy in SA as Olympic qualifiers loom

Kitso Ramono
FOCUSED ON FRANCE: Kenosi

With time running out to qualify for the Paris Olympics, Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) has sent a team of eight boxers to South Africa for some much-needed fight time ahead of next month’s qualifiers.

The eight locals will compete in the first ever Mandela Africa Boxing Cup, which takes place at the International Convention Centre in Durban from 16 to 21 April.

With the on-going boxing extravaganza attracting 363 fighters from 41 African nations, it is the perfect opportunity for BW to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers, set for Thailand, Bangkok from 23 May to 3 June.

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The International Boxing Association (IBA) have pumped close to P7 million into the event, held in partnership with the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANBO) and the Mandela Foundation.

As well as elevating boxing talent across Africa, the goal is to foster unity and celebrate diversity, according to organisers.

Flying the blue, white and black for Botswana on the men’s side will be: Kobamelo Molathegi (48kg), Rajab Mahommad (52kg), George Molwantwa (54kg), Mmoloki Sekwaipe (57kg), Kabo Seitshiro (63kg) and Sekhutlo Kutlwano (63kg), while Phekie Bele (54kg) and Keamogetse Kenosi (57kg) will do it for the ladies.

Molwantwa, Sekwape and Kutlano will be the first to step into the ring, with their bouts scheduled for Wednesday early afternoon.

Speaking to Voice Sport, BoBA mouthpiece, Gaone Motshwanaesi admitted it was crunch time if BW boxing is to make it to the French capital.

“Due to a lack of funding, we have not attended international tournaments or been beyond the country for training camps; the team only had one international camp in Zambia this year. This tournament will be critical in preparing athletes for the Olympics’ final qualifying event in Bangkok,” stated Motshwanaesi.

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At the last Olympics in Tokyo, Japan back in 2021, Botswana were represented in the ring by Kenosi and Rajab Otukile.

At the very least, BoBA aims to match this number – Thailand represents their last chance to do so!

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