Welcome Promises a Bloodbath
By Carlos Kambaekwa
All roads lead to the Windhoek Country Club Resort, south of the Namibian capital when Namibia’s veteran boxer Paulus “Ali” Nuumbembe takes on his South African counterpart and defending champion Welcome Ntshangila for the WBA Pan-African Welterweight title fight on Saturday.
The seemingly weary 27-year old South African arrived in Windhoek yesterday and pulled no punches at the pre-match press conference at the Professional Boxing Control office in the city centre, flanked by his trainer John Krieger.
“I’m not here to play, it’s going to be a war and the Namibian fans are definitely going to see a lot of blood oozing.”
Ntshangila boasts a remarkable record of 23 bouts under his belt in the paid ranks with seventeen wins, three losses and three defeats with five of those fights failing to last the full distance.
In terms of experience the two boxers are very much on par, with Nuumbembe having fought the same number of fights since turning professional in 2002.
The Namibian Defence Force captain has been victorious in 19 of his 23 fights as a pro and has suffered three defeats with one draw, and boasts six knockouts during an illustrious boxing career that saw the soft-spoken fighter spending a good chunk of his tuition years in the United Kingdom.
“I’m very thankful for Ntshangila to have agreed to come and defend his title here in Namibia, because it’s not very easy to lure the defending champion away from his nest, and I would really like to urge fellow Namibians, boxing enthusiasts in particular, to come out in large numbers and render the much needed morale-boosting support.”
Ntshangila defeated fellow South African Thabo Mashishi for the vacant WBA Pan-African Welterweight title in Mambatho, South Africa in 2006, and Saturday’s fight will be his first title defence ever since.
The fight was postponed twice at the request of the both camps because of insufficient funds to sponsor the eagerly awaited bout, but local boxing promoter Nestor Tobias has now taken the bull by the horns and resolved to stage the fight with minimum resources.
“Staging title fights is an extremely expensive exercise and I would really like to appeal to potential sponsors to come on board and assist us with staging bouts of this magnitude.”
Tobias thanked PE Minerals Namibia (Pty) Ltd for its generous sponsorship but was quick to mention that the sponsorship only covers a fraction of the total budget.
Local boxing guru Ambrossius “Tjipukuu” Kandjii applauded the Namibian Professional Boxing Control Board for sanctioning the fight, but the sharp-tongued boxing administrator minced no words as he climbed into local corporate businesses with both fists for their apparent reluctance to associate themselves with boxing despite this particular discipline having made significant strides on the international arena.