‘Slow Poison’ Leads Diehard Fighters to C/Wealth

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By Confidence Musariri The Namibia Boxing Federation has recruited a strong team mixed with youth and experience to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March this year. Twenty-year-old African Champion and 2005 Sports- man of the Year , Japhet Uutoni, leads the pack while Athens Olympic quarter-finalist Paulus Ambunda could rope in a harvest of medals at the Melbourne games. The other five fighters have been recruited on various grounds, the recent being the tournament held earlier this year in Swakopmund. Bantamweight Immanuel Neindjala, Johannes Mwetupunga, Jatoorora Tjingaveta, Godfried Ndokosho and Desmond Kasuto all make up the fort to defend Namibia’s pride in boxing at the Commonwealth. Again the NBF, who had their most fruitful year in 2005, have put faith in the marshalling of Cuban coach Geraldo Bicet who will be assisted by Mistake Gariseb. The 48kg light fly Uutoni was the only southern African boxer to represent Africa at the World Boxing Championships in Moscow, Russia last year. The Katutura-based fighter has a knack of rising to the occasion when it matters most. He made mincemeat of Arab boxers in Morocco at the African Championships where he became the continent’s Lightweight Boxing Champion. Nicknamed ‘Slow Poison’, in relation to his fighting skills, Uutoni is sure to leave a mark in Australia. At the close of last year, he and Paulus Ambunda pummelled Botswana boxers who were scheduled to win tickets to represent Gaborone, at the Commonwealth, forcing a rethink in the Botswana camp. For flyweight Paulus Ambunda, the comeback he exhibited at the 2004 Olympics against Germany’s Rustamhodza Rahimovi in the quarterfinals will make his trip to the Commonwealth part of his unfinished business. It will be Commonwealth debuts for Johannes Mwetupunga and Desmond Kasuto who made their intentions clear early this year in Swakopmund. The two boxers were exciting in the Swakop tournament, both fighting two matches in one night as Mwetupunga won the crowds after beating Philip Sapoli while Holyfield Toivo and Silas Hangula succumbed to Kasuto. The team is scheduled to participate in an International Boxing Friendly in Pretoria South Africa on the weekend of the 8th of this month. Another training base has been set for Gaborone, Botswana in March, where the seven will fight boxers from Zambia, Mauritius, South Africa and Lesotho in attempts to sharpen their knives before flying to Australia.