Naidjala apologises for defeat

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-Namibia’s bantamweight boxer Immanuel ‘Prince’ Naidjala has apologised to his fans for Saturday’s dismal performance that saw him being outpointed by South African challenger Siboniso Gonya after 12 rounds of heated action – with the defeat seeing him lose grip of his WBO inter-continental bantamweight title.

On Saturday at a fully packed Ramatex Hall in the capital during the annual Independence Boxing Bonanza, Naidjala took to the ring to defend his treasured WBO inter-continental bantamweight belt against South Africa’s Gonya, in what turned out to be a fight of contrasting fortunes.

Naidjala lost to Gonya by unanimous decision after 12 rounds of blood, sweat and tears, with the visiting South African dominating almost all departments of their heated bout. In all honesty, Naidjala found it difficult to deal with Gonya, a southpaw, and was at the receiving end of heavy punishment as he finished the fight with three knockdowns and several cuts on his face.

Gonya was in control of the fight, using all four corners of the ring effectively when under pressure and countering Naidjala at every given opportunity.

Naidjala, who suffered his third career defeat on Saturday, was not his usual self as he clearly lacked speed, tenacity and accuracy. The 32-year-old Namibian failed to execute his game plan as he struggled to land serious telling punches and would many a time not follow up on some great opportunities to knock out the South African, and his murky display saw Gonya win the fight on points.

Without any attempts to sugarcoat Saturday’s dismal performance, Naidjala took to social media to sincerely apologise to his fans for the poor showing that saw him surrender the WBO inter-continental bantamweight title.

Naidjala after the fight posted on his Facebook page: “It’s one of those nights where things don’t go your way… I lost the fight tonight and I want to say sorry to my fans who I disappointed but those were not punches, I was head butted (explaining the cuts on his face). I was head butted three times and that led to the cut. But I understand and I’m really sorry to those that I disappointed.”

The defeat is likely to see Naidjala slide down the WBO world ratings come end of April, meaning his chances of going for a world title look very slim. He now has a record of 27 fights, 23 wins, three losses and one draw.

In the main bout of the Independence Boxing Bonanza, Namibia former world champion and current WBO African lightweight champion Paulus ‘The Hitman’ Moses delivered a dominant performance against Malawian opponent Chrispine Moliati to retain his WBO Africa lightweight title via a 7th round knockout.

Hitman was initially to fight the DRC’s Benoit Makangali Vela who failed a medical test prior to Saturday’s fight and was automatically disqualified, with Moliati stepping in as the replacement to face the Namibian champion.

The Malawian gave a good account of himself before being caught by a flurry of powerful shots that sent him to the canvas. One minute and 37 seconds into the seventh round, Hitman cornered Moliati with a tremor of heavy body and head punches, which saw Moliati dropping to his knees and onto the canvas.

A courageous Moliati beat the referee’s count but was clearly too dazed and jelly-legged to be allowed to fight on, with prominent South African referee Deon Dwarte stopping the bout to give Hitman a 7th round knockout victory.

In a post-fight interview, Hitman said that as much as Moliati was a replacement boxer, he proved to be good competition.

“I am lucky because I spar with Julius Indongo, who is a southpaw and I also spar with Jatoorora Tjingavete, who is an orthodox boxer, so I was prepared for everything,” said Hitman, who added that his initial plan was to finish the fight in the 4th round but credit to Moliati because he pushed the fight to the 7th round. – Additional reporting: Nampa

Saturday’s Independence Boxing Bonanza full results:

1) Bantamweight National Bout:
Andreas “A” Amupolo beat Jafet Amukwaya via a 2nd round TKO.
2) Super Bantamweight:
Timoteus “Remember” Shuulula beat Tinashe Mutodza (Zimbabwe) via a 4th round TKO.
3) International Welterweight Fight:
Mendu Kaangudue beat Charles Misanjo (Malawi) on points.
4) International Welterweight Fight:
Mike Shonena beat Chikonda Makawa (Malawi) on points.
5) International Welterweight Fight:
Immanuel Kamunganjela beat Limbani Masamba (Malawi) on points.
6) International Super Lightweight:
Jeremiah “No Respect” Nakathila beat Varde “Swapo” Ndayambekwa via 1st round KO.
7) WBO Africa Middleweight Title:
Walter “Executioner” Kautondokwa beat Med Sebyala from Uganda via 10th round TKO.
8) WBO Featherweight Title:
Sakaria “Desert Storm” Lukas beat Oscar Chauke (SA) on points.
9) WBO Intercontinental Bantamweight Title:
Siboniso Gonya (SA) beat Immanuel “Prince” Naindjala on points.
10) WBO Africa Lightweight Title:
Paulus “Moses” Hitman beat Chrispine Moliati (Malawi) via a 7th round KO.

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