2.3 million people live in Namibia. With this, it is one of the least populated countries in Africa compared to its size. In the world of pugilism, however, this small country has a great run, producing three world champions in the last eight years.
All three, Paulus Moses, Paulus Ambunda, and, most recently, Julius Indongo came out of a fast-rising fight factory run by trainer/manager/promoter Nestor Tobias and his MTC Nestor Sunshine Promotions. Next to those boxers who already reached gold are a number of prospects and contenders who represent the next generation of Namibian fighters who could knock off the odds and climb the mountains in their respected weight divisions.
There are two undefeated contenders on Tobias’s group of athletes who could be next in line on the Namibian List of Heroes. One of them are hard-hitting Walter Kautondokwa who is competing in the middleweight division and is ranked No. 7 by the WBO. The other is featherweight Sakaria Lukas, who is rated No. 5 by the same organization.
Lukas (19-0, 13 KOs) is scheduled to step into the ring this coming Saturday in a card headlined by his predecessor, former lightweight champ Paulus Moses at the Windhoek Country Club Resort in Windhoek, Namibia. The unbeaten 33-year-old’s opponent will be Ugandan Mudde Ntambi Rabison (22-4-1, 7 KOs).
There has been no footage of Sakaria Lukas within reach. That is partly because boxing events in Namibia barely get TV coverege. That leaves us to ask Nestor Tobias himself to introduce his boxer for the first time to international fight fans.
“Sakaria is one of Africa’s best-kept featherweight secrets, and the world will be amazed to see this kid’s boxing talent. He is a future world titlist, a champion in the making for sure. His last fight was quite tough against Oscar Chauke from South Africa but it brought out the best in him. For now, he must keep winning to improve his ratings and we are planning on giving him his big break soon. He has already captured the Africa Feathwerweight titles by the IBF, WBA and WBO and the time for him to shine on the international scene is looming,” said Tobias to BoxingScene.com.
Lukas has yet to leave Namibia for a pro fight where he has faced exclusively African opponents. The unbeaten pugilist is the highest rated featherweight of his continent on the rankings by the major sanctioning bodies and he is more than willing to sail out to international waters soon.
“Lukas is in a class of his own in Africa. We are currently studying potential opponents for his near future. We have previously made offers to WBO-rated international boxers and they all refused to fight Sakaria even though the offers were good,” Nestor discussed the tough circumstances of a fighter coming from Africa and thus does not have a drawing power to push himself into major bouts against worthy opponents.
“My opponents might not be known in the international boxing scene but they are known in Africa,” said Lukas, who believes he can be an effective player once he gets the chance to prove himself against the best of his division.
The 126-pound contender started boxing at age fourteen and quickly became a significant fighter nationwide.
“My amateur boxing career went full circle and it was an experience of a lifetime that properly set up my pro career. I was a former national champion, represented Namibia in the Zone 6 championships, in the All African and Commonwealth games which gave me valuable experience.”
Sakaria is known to be an aggressive fighter with quick hands. He has some pops in his punches spiced with accuracy which is an effective combination to silence his foes at the level he has been boxing at.
“He is an orthodox fighter, very aggressive and comes forward all the time, but also very cautious with an excellent ability to read his opponents and adapt to their style to win fights. He has a big heart, a good chin and is very disciplined. All in all he is just a naturally talented boxer,” concluded Tobias.
When asked about his goals in the sport, Lukas was formal in his disered path marked by his elders.
“Namibia has been fortunate to have produced four world champions already. Harry Simon paved the way, followed by my men Paulus Moses, Paulus Ambunda and Julius Indongo. They are all my gym colleagues and friends and I am inspired by their achievements. We train together everyday and my desire is to become the best in the world at featherweight.”
To become the next great Namibian success, Lukas’s sole focus needs to center in the ring this coming Saturday night. He may find it difficult to get credible opponents now. This is nothing new to an African fighter after all. To qualify to a world title fight and give himself a shot to reach his goal he simply needs to win. At all costs.
–Tamas Pradarics, BoxingScene.com