Nestor Tobias is undoubtedly Namibia’s leading boxing promoter and trainer. He has led the largest number of Namibians to world championships and a multitude of others to continental and inter-continental glory.
With so many gifted boxers under his guidance through the MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy over the years, compiling his list of Namibia’s top 10 boxers of all time was quite a challenge for Tobias.
“Before I pick my top 10, I must confess that a list like this will always be debatable, because everybody will always have their own ideas about it,” Tobias said.
“Even when Ring Magazine and Boxingscene.com select their pound-for-pound top 10, their list is always debatable, but guided by their own criteria. The criteria I used for Namibia and given our own circumstances are as follows; achievement based on titles won; their CV and quality of opponents fought and where; performance and the manner in which they won and lost fights; and activity level, which means how often they fought or fight at top level and opposition.”
1. HARRY SIMON
Harry Simon became Namibia’s first world champion. He remains Namibia’s only two weight-division world champion, having held the WBO 154-pound world title from 1998 to 2001 and the WBO middleweight title in 2002.
Simon holds the longest undefeated streak in the country’s boxing history. He remains undefeated with 31 fights and no losses, despite constantly fighting top opponents away from home, including current Hall of Famer Ronald “Winky” Wright and Rodney Jones.
Simon scored his successes at a time Namibia was suspended from participating in world competitions because of apartheid. I am happy to have fought alongside him in the Springbok National Team and was his sparring partner when he prepared for his fight against Ronald Wright.
For me ‘The Terminator’ definitely takes the number one spot. If Namibia had a Hall of Fame, he would definitely qualify as a member.
2. PAULUS MOSES
Moses is synonymous with the MTC Sunshine Academy. He became Namibia’s second world champion and gave Namibian boxing renewed hope. He won the WBA lightweight title in 2009 in Japan under very difficult circumstances before relinquishing it in 2010.
He got a second bite of the cherry when he fought Ricky Burns for the WBO world title in 2012, a fight he clearly won in the eyes of the public. He went on to compete for another WBO International title against Cassius Baloyi which he won and successfully defended five times, all against top-quality opponents.
In 2018 he once again competed for the WBO world title against Raymundo Beltran to become the first Namibian boxer to fight in the USA. He held various WBO Africa titles and, with over 46 professional fights and winning 40 with 25 KO’s, he definitely comes in at number two.
3. PAULUS AMBUNDA
Paulus Ambunda participated at the Summer Olympics. He became Namibia’s third world champion and the second from the MTC Sunshine Academy when he won the WBO bantamweight title against the champion, Panya Uthok, in 2013.
He the lost that title to Tomoki Kameda in the Philippines the following year. He redeemed himself by winning the WBO and IBF international titles against Cristian Palma and won the IBO super bantamweight world title in 2015 against Leandro Esperante from Argentine and defended it twice.
In 2016, he fought WBA interim world champion Moises Flores on home soil and lost. He went on to win the WBC international title and eventually the IBO world title in 2018 which he lost to Stephen Fulton in 2019. He has certainly fought consistently and away from home against top-class opponents, and for me deserves the number three spot. His record is 27 wins and 3 losses.
4. JULIUS INDONGO
Winning the Namibian Amateur National Championship title in 2002 set the tone for MTC Sunshine Academy’s third world beater.
Indongo became Namibia’s fourth world champion. Afer defending the WBO Jr welterweight title for a number of times he defeated Eduard Troyanovsky in 2016 for the IBF and IBO world titles in Russia in 40 seconds.
In April 2017, Indongo fought WBA world champion Ricky Burns in what was a unification fight in Scotland and won a one-sided unanimous decision. In August 2017, Indongo took on WBC, WBO Ring Magazine and Lineal champion Terence Crawford in a rare full unification fight which made headlines all over the world.
The entire boxing world was glued to their TV screens for this fight because it was to determine the junior welterweight’s first undisputed champion since Kostya Tszyu achieved this status in 2004. Indongo lost this fight by KO in the third round and the card averaged 965 000 viewers on ESPN.
In 2018, Indongo fought Regis Prograis for the vacant interim WBC title and lost. Indongo has certainly made history and earned his place in Namibia’s boxing history and in my view could have earned a better spot if he continued winning. Indongo has won 23 times with two losses to date.
5. WALTER KAUTONDOKWA
Dubbed as Namibia’s most powerful puncher, Kautondokwa holds an impressive record of 18 wins with 17 coming by knockout.
He came close to becoming Namibia’s fifth world champion when he accepted a WBO middleweight world title fight on two weeks’ notice against Demetrius Andrade in the USA. Kautondokwa displayed bravery and went the full distance despite three knockdowns which earned him the 2019 WBO Fighter of the Year Award.
Kautondokwa went on to fight Kanat Islam in Kazakshstan for the WBO International middleweight title which he lost on points in highly controversial circumstances. Despite this loss he remains feared in the WBO middleweight division and has certainly made name for himself as a warrior.
He now has 20 fights with 18 wins and 2 losses and certainly one of the most dedicated and disciplined fighters I have ever trained.
6. JEREMIAH NAKATHILA
MTC Sunshine Academy prospect Jeremiah Nakathila is currently Namibia’s number one boxer and the most highly rated currently at number two on the WBO Jr lightweight division. He is poised to become Namibia’s next world champion.
He held the WBO Jr lightweight title for several years and now holds the WBO Global Jr lightweight title. He has defeated the best in the division in Africa and recently made a big statement in the division by defeating fellow world-rated Zoltan Kovac from Hungary and went on to defeat WBO Lightweight Africa champion Peter Pambeni in consecutive wins.
He has the power to take out any opponent and now holds a record of 20 fights with only one loss suffered in Russia. He trades his blows under the MTC Nestor Sunshine Promotions.
7. MIKE SHONENA
Mike Shonena is undoubtedly Africa’s best welterweight. He holds the WBO Africa welterweight title and has already successfully defended it five consecutive times.
In August 2019, he made a big statement in the division by defeating the highly rated fellow world-rated Youli Dong who held the Asian Pacific title. He is currently rated number five by the WBO and is set to fight for a world title in 2021.
8. SAKARIA LUKAS
Lukas competed for Namibia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the Bantamweight division. In 2006 he won gold at the Zone 6 Youth Games in Windhoek and a silver at the senior Zone 6 Championships.
Lukas remains undefeated in 23 fights. Lukas held the WBO, WBA and IBF Featherweight Continental titles and was once rated number two by the WBO. He remains world rated under the IBF at number six.
His one-year break from the sport of boxing definitely delayed his progress, but he is back now and was scheduled to fight Jessie Magdaleno from the USA, which would have been his first international opponent, but the fight was unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19.
9. BETHUEL UUSHONA
Bethuel ‘Tyson’ Uushona is one of Namibia’s most naturally gifted boxers. He has held regional titles from the WBA, WBO and also fought for a Commonwealth title. Once dubbed the ‘Mayweather of Namibia’, Tyson has fought all over the world, including the UK, Germany and Russia.
He was once rated number one by the WBO and was poised to become a mandatory challenger to Manny Pacquio, but lost his fight to a relatively unknown opponent from Argentina. He also won the WBF world title. In 2018 he fought Sebastian Formella for the WBO Global title which he lost.
Uushona will go down as one of the finest boxers Namibia has ever produced. His latest losing streak of five fights in a row however spoils his record which stands at 36 wins, 10 losses and 1 draw.
10. NATHANAEL KAKOLOLO
Nathanael Kakololo is definitely the future of Namibian boxing and has done very well with 10 fights under his belt and only one loss. He currently holds the African Boxing Union (ABU) Feather title and has defeated opponents with his latest being Jeff Magagane in style in December 2019.
I see great potential in Kakololo and I hope he goes on to win many more titles. Kakololo is with MTC Salute Boxing.
It is a pity I couldn’t do a top 15, because I would really have squeezed in Paulus ‘Ali’ Nuumbembe, who went to the UK to turn pro and won a Commonwealth title there, but never really made it onto the world ratings of any sanctioning body.
Immanuel ‘Prince’ Naidjala has also done well in his prime as a top fighter and went to Japan to fight for the WBO world title against Tomoki Kameda.
And of course, Lukas ‘Demolisher’ Ndafoluma is the man to watch alongside Sackey ‘Izinyoka’ Shikukutu, who also made a contribution.
For now, to be fair, I will give these four guys special mention as they have made a very positive contribution to Namibian boxing.