Jonas, Hamunyela win gold medals in Congo… qualify for World Championships

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-Two of Namibia’s top Olympic boxers Jonas Junias Jonas and Matias Hamunyela booked their places at this year’s AIBA World Championships, after winning gold medals at the just-ended AFBC African Boxing Championships held in Congo-Brazzaville.

First to scoop gold was Hamunyela, who on Sunday trounced Cameroon’s Rio 2016 Olympian Simplice Fotsala in the light flyweight (49kg) final to clinch gold. On his way to the final, Hamunyela brilliantly negotiated his way past a stubborn Bakari Shaffi Hassan of Kenya.

Second to hoist the Namibian flag on the podium was the country’s 2016 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jonas, who also delivered a masterpiece to overcome Egypt’s London 2012 Olympian Mohamed Eslam Aly in the light welterweight (64kg) division and eventually win Namibia’s second gold medal at the competition, which was held in Congo from June 17-15.

With the resounding victories, both Jonas and Hamunyela have now qualified for the upcoming AIBA World Championships set for Hamburg, Germany from August 25 to September 3.

The AIBA World Boxing Championships is a biennial amateur boxing competition organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which is the sport governing body. Alongside the Olympic boxing programme, it is the highest level of competition for the sport.

The competition was first held in 1974 in Havana, Cuba as a men’s only event and the first women’s championship was held over 25 years later in 2001.

Formerly known as the World Amateur Boxing Championships and the Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships, the men and women’s competitions are held separately and since 2006 the biennial championships have been held in alternating years.

The number of weight categories was reduced from 12 to 11 in 2003 with the removal of the light middleweight division (−71 kg). In 2011 the weight categories went down to 10 with the removal of the featherweight division (−57 kg).

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