GABORONE — Botswanan boxers were crowned champions of the 2019 Africa Zone IV boxing championship here on Saturday afternoon.
The local boxers, who have been shining throughout the tournament that started on Tuesday, dominated the final day amassing six gold medals and a silver to add to the two bronze medals that were won the previous day.
Lethabo Modukanele was the first boxer on the day to get a gold medal for Botswana in the women flyweight bout where she defeated Margret Tembo of Zambia 3-2 in the first final of the day.
Another Botswana lady in the final Aratwa Kasemang did not disappoint in the women lightweight bout ((57kg-60kg) where she overpowered Isabel Mulungo of Mozambique 5-0 in a one sided fight.
In the men’s light flyweight fight (46kg-49kg), Kobamelo Molatlhegi narrowly lost 2-3 to Zambian Patrick Chinyimba to settle for silver.
The closely contested bout had both boxers sent to the ropes once in a very aggressive first round. Botswana won a third gold curtesy of George Molwantwa who was given a walk over in the men’s bantamweight (56kg) final where Zambian opponent Evaristo Mulenga did not show up.
A mouth-watering bout was on offer for the men’s welterweight (69kg) final where local champion Mmusi Edrian Tswiigwe faced tough Angolan opponent Goma Nafital Afonso.
The referee had to intervene several times as both boxers charged onto one another in search for a knockout punch.
The crowd waited nervously for the announcement of the official result with the Angolan running to the TV cameras to declare himself a winner at the end of the bout.
The result however declared Tswiige a clear winner with 5-0 points much to the jubilation of the local fans that thronged the competition venue.
Speaking to Xinhua at the end of the tournament, Botswana coach Lechedzani Luza said he was very impressed with the team’s overall performance.
He said the final results were evidence of the work they put up in preparation for the tournament as they did not want to be second best to anyone on home soil.
He was however quick to say that real work should start soon in preparation for the African Games that will be played in Morocco in August 2019.
The winners at the AIBA sanctioned tournament all qualified for the African Games and the African Boxing Championship, which will provide an opportunity for them to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Ten countries competed at the tournament.