Growing up in far-flung Ncojane, Mmusi Tswiigi did not envisage standing a good chance of progressing in his chosen sport path, boxing.
The Prisons Boxing Club member has risen to become one of the country’s most feared boxers.
Born in Ncojane village in June 17, 1991, Tswiigi fell in love with boxing at a young age when he used to watch the sport on television.
He started his primary education at Kalamare and after his mother’s marriage, the family moved back to Ncojane. He proceeded to junior school but unfortunately for him, there was no boxing.
“There was no boxing at junior school but that did not dampen my spirit. I had hope that one day I would box. When I got to Gantsi Senior Secondary School, together with other boys, we started training. We did not have a coach until one day, one of the teachers realised our potential and started taking us through some training,” he said.
Tswiigi said due to his immense talent, it did not take long for him to make the school team.
His first competition was during the Botswana Integrated Sport Association (BISA) and Botswana Games in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He won all his matches through knockout (KO).
“I won gold medals. That was the beginning of many things for me and a dream come true. After completing Form Five, I formed Gantsi Boxing Club together with a friend. We were then joined by Sakhu Mathathai,” he recalls.
Tswiigi would then receive a national team call up where he was recruited by Prisons under the guidance of Gibson Rauwe. He said upon arrival in the capital city in 2013, he won a silver medal during the Zone IV Championships held at Gaborone West. He was part of the team again in 2014.
He was part of the national team that competed at the Commonwealth Games where he lost in the quarter finals in 2015.
“During the Commonwealth Games, I did not have much experience hence I was booted out in the quarter finals. But
I could see progress. We went for a training camp in Mauritius and I was one of the best boxers,” he said.
The boxer represented Botswana at the All Africa Games the following year where he did not perform well. He had to take a school break afterwards after getting the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) elite sponsorship.
His star continued to shine as he caused havoc in the ring, bagging gold medals. He said his fighting division (69kg), comprised mostly of soldiers, who had experience and trained properly. Tswiigi was not threatened and continued to dominate the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) inter-club championships.
“I no longer have many opponents in my category. In the past there was Keoagile Rantutu and Lentswe Zwinila amongst others. Right now, Rantutu has disappeared and I am left with Zwinila who does not attend many competitions. The challenge we have here is that we do not have enough competitions. Boxers only prepare for the BoBA championships which are held in November,” he said with disappointment.
Tswiigi said he has not thought about turning professional due to the slow growth of the sport in the country. He said his eyes are on preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I do not mind sponsoring myself in order to get enough training. At the moment, coaching is a challenge. People I am working with are volunteers. They assist me when they have time,” he said.
Tswiigi said since his former coach, Khumiso Ikgopoleng left for the USA, he has not developed as a boxer.
Prisons club manager, Rauwe said Tswiigi has the potential to go far as a boxer. He said the boxer has all the right ingredients of being one of the most celebrated boxers in this country.
Full name: Mmusi Tswiigi
Date of birth: June 17, 1991
Hobbies: Athletics, netball and volleyball
Role model: Floyd Mayweather