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Tobias Eager To Kickstart Boxing

Jeremiah Nakathila in action against Prince Dlomo of South Africa.
Namibia boxing promoter Nestor Tobias hopes to get boxing back on track as soon as possible, but it will still take quite a while before fans can look forward to boxing fights. Furthermore, with boxing already having restarted in western countries, continued inactivity will harm Namibian boxers' chances of improving their world rankings and getting world title fights.

Tobias on Monday said he was communicating with the Namibian government and hoped that they could resume gym training by next month. "We have started talking to the Namibia Sport Commission, they have a Covid-19 committee, and we are giving them ideas on how boxing can make a return, so we are assisting the government to put things in order,” he said.

"As a contact sport it's still not allowed to practise boxing, but we hope to start training in our gym by next month. We can sanitise at the boxing gym, keep social distancing and do temperature checks - we can control the training and our gym is big enough to accommodate five people at a time,” he added. At the moment boxers from his stable, the MTC Nestor Sunshine Academy, are just doing basic training like road work, shadow boxing and fitness exercises, while they also returned to fitness gyms this month in compliance with stage 3 of the lockdown regulations.

Tobias said it will still take a long time before the boxers are ready to fight. “They haven't trained properly and it will take at least two or three months to get fit. They can't just go and box now, because it will be too dangerous,” he said. Tobias, however, added that it was important not to fall behind the western world, which has already started hosting boxing tournaments.

"In the United States and the UK the cases of Covid-19 are much worse than here, but they are trying their best to bring boxing back and in the US they have already held six tournaments behind closed doors,” he said. “Now they have a head start on us and if our borders remain closed it will start affecting us, because our boxers will drop down the rankings due to their inactivity, so we just hope that things will be better before the end of the year,” he added.

At the moment Jeremiah Nakathila is Tobias' top-ranked boxer and probably Namibia's best prospect of becoming a world champion. Nakathila who has a pro record of 19 wins and one defeat is the current WBO Africa junior lightweight champion, while he is ranked second in the world by the WBO. He is expected to climb to number one in the near future when the current number one Oscar Valdez challenges the WBC champion Miguel Berchelt for his title, which will make Nakathila the mandatory challenger to WBO world champion Jamel Herring.

Nakathila had a fight lined up against Anthony Molisane of South Africa before the nationwide lockdown came into effect, and Tobias said it was still on the cards. “His fight was already sanctioned and we paid the sanctioning fee, so the fight is still on and we are just waiting to hear when we can stage it again,” he said, adding that other top prospects like Mikka Shonena and Harry Simon Junior also had fights sanctioned.

Shonena, who is still undefeated after 15 fights and is ranked sixth in the world by the WBO, was scheduled to fight Twaha Kiduku of Tanzania, while Simon Junior, who is undefeated after 11 fights, was scheduled to challenge Jabulani Makhense of South Africa for the WBA Africa super lightweight title and the IBF Africa super lightweight title.

Walter Kautondokwa, who has dropped out of the world rankings after losing two of his last three fights, is also scheduled to fight Alick Mwenda of Malawi and despite being 35 years old, Tobias said he could still reach the top. "Walter is strong, he's hungry, and he can still make it to the top. He's a big guy and he started late with his pro career, so I'd say he still has at least four or five years left in him,” he said.
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