WINDHOEK – While some strolled down the corridors of the Ramatex Hall with hope, multitudes of local boxing fans left the giant hall with their heads buried in shame and shock following the defeat of Namibia’s former world champion and crowd-favourite Paulus ‘The Hitman’ Moses.
Moses was on the eve of Namibia’s 25th independence celebration made to surrender his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) International Lightweight title to South African boxer Malcolm ‘The Stone’ Klassen in a heated clash at a fully-packed Ramatex Hall in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
After some random crowd interviews after the fight, many fans were in unison that although Namibian boxing is still a much sought-after commodity in Africa and the world, they feared the plummeting performance from what was widely considered the country’s ‘Golden Generation’ of boxers, which consist of Hitman Moses, Tyson Ushona, Vikapita Meroro, Paulus Ambunda, Wilberforce Shihepo, Sacky ‘Izinyoka’ Shikukutu, Martin Haikali, Immanuel ‘Prince’ Naidjala and Abmerk Shidjuu, to mention but a few, could signal the end of an era.
With many of these boxers in their mid and late 30s, fans predict that some might still manage to rumble for a few years more and hopefully bring home various African titles, but none of the interviewed fans foresaw any of the boxers in the ‘Golden Generation’ bracket bringing home a world title within the next one or two years.
As for Hitman’s fight against Klassen, which was the main bout of the Independence Boxing Bonanza, the usually aggressive and hard-punching Namibian was at the weekend nowhere near his usual self, as he was constantly kept on the ropes by a highly-determined Klassen.
Although Moses gave a good account of himself in the opening rounds with a great solid jab that was complemented by a combination of strong head and body shots, Klassen started taking authority with a powerful jab which had Moses backtracking at times.
The South African’s powerful punches and no-surrender style of fighting had Moses in trouble, as Klassen kept coming forward like a bulldozer despite Moses landing some big shots on him.
Klassen finally had Moses on the canvas in the sixth round with a vicious left hook but a clearly dangling Moses managed to beat the count and was soon back in action. Heading into the final quarter of the fight, Moses started responding with long jabs but many a time failed to follow-up on them, which gave Klassen more room to smoothly go about his business as he kept dominating until the last round to eventually win the fight unanimously with a score of 115-110, 116-110, 113-112.
In other action, Julius Indongo captured the vacant WBO Africa Junior Welterweight title after defeating the hard as nails Ibrahim Class from Tanzania on points in a heated bout, while Tyson Ushona also put up a courageous performance to make a winning comeback against Tshepo Mandawe of South Africa, whom he defeated on points over 8-rounds of their Welterweight fight.
Meanwhile, Vikapita Meroro was not accorded an opportunity to even produce an ounce of sweat in his Cruiserweight fight against Omour Mzungu, as the out-of-sorts Tanzanian threw in the towel just after 1:31 seconds into the first round.
Japhet ‘Thin Man’ Utoni defeated Sibusiso Twani from South Africa on points after 10 rounds of their thrilling Flyweight bout. Immanuel ‘The Prince’ Naidjala knocked out Aubrey Masamba of Malawi in the third round of their Bantamweight fight, to redeem himself in astounding style.
In the Lightweight category, Martin Haikali defeated Nkosinathi Ntsangase of South Africa on points, while Walter Kautondokwa trounced Charles Masanjo of Malawi via a fourth-round knockout during their Middleweight fight. Welterweight boxer Immanuel Mungandjela defeated Tommy Hango via a fourth round knockout.