’Boxing At a New Level’ – Tobias

Boxing promoter Nestor Tobias on Tuesday thanked boxing fans who packed the Windhoek Country Club on Saturday night and said that boxing in Namibia had grown to another level.

The main fight was a local affair with Immanuel Naidjala defending his WBO Africa bantamweight title against Smokey Joe Hilongwa, but despite the lack of foreign drawcards, local boxing fans arrived in their droves, making it one of the most successful recent events according to Tobias.

“It was a great tournament, the fights were great and it was well organised and well attended. It was one of the best boxing tournaments this year and I just want to thank the fans who came out in big numbers and the boxers who put up a great show,” he said.

“Boxing in Namibia has improved a lot and we are now attracting fans from all walks of life. On Saturday night we had men, women and children and black and white fans in attendance, so now it’s up to us to keep it up,” he added.

Saturday night’s tournament was promoted by the MTC Nestor Sunshine Academy but also involved boxers from the rival Warriors Promotions camp and Tobias said it showed that different promoters and boxers could work together in Namibia.

“We promoted the whole event, but we used Warriors Promotions’ boxers and we are willing to do the same with other promoters and boxers. We can learn from other promoters and they can learn from us. We are the leading boxing academy in Namibia and in Africa because of our record and our results but we are willing to share that knowledge and expertise with other promoters in Namibia,” he said.

Tobias however said that they should not provide mismatches and that they should look after the welfare of Namibian boxers.

“Our boxers are just more skilful at this stage, and if there is a bantamweight in Namibia who will fight Paulus Ambunda, or a cruiserweight to fight Vikapita Meroro, or a welterweight to fight Tyson Ushona, they can come and we will be willing to fight them. But at this stage we don’t have suitable local opponents and that’s why we look outside to find opponents for them.”

Regarding the main fight that Naidjala won comfortably on a unanimous points decision, Tobias said that Naidjala was in a different class.

“It was a good test between two boxers with international experience, but Naidjala has been tested in bigger fights and his experience and class showed. He fought Tomoki Kameda for the WBO world title last year and although he lost, he gave a good performance and is fighting at a different level now. He has also been the busier fighter over the past year and against Smokey, he dominated the fight from the start.”

Hilongwa apologised to his fans, saying that he was not at his best.

“I apologise to my fans for my poor performance and for letting them down. I admit that Imms was too good for me. I injured my rib during the fight, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse,” he said.

Naidjala said that Hilongwa was a good boxer and should continue his career.

“Smokey is a good boxer and he must not give up now. He lost against a world class boxer, I was just in a different class,” he said.

Regarding the poor performance of Samuel Kapau and Martin Haikali in their WBO Africa lightweight title fight, Tobias said it was also up to the boxers to sell their fights with good performances.

“It was not a good fight and neither boxer did anything to impress the judges.

We as promoters have to sell the fight, but it was a boring fight for sure. After a performance like that, how will you sell a fight like that in future again. It’s up to the boxers to play their part to sell the fight as well,” he said.

Regarding the WBO Africa featherweight fight between Abmerk Shidjuu and Jafet Uutoni, that Shidjuu won on a split decision, Tobias said that the boxers could go for a rematch.

“It was very close to call for the judges and could have gone either way. The way I saw it, Utoni was very aggressive but very wild, while Shidjuu was more technical and accurate. It was a good fight and we can definitely go for a rematch,” he said.

Source : The Namibian