Epic Battle Edges Closer

The WBO Africa bantamweight title will be a bonus for the winner of Saturday’s showdown between Immanuel ‘Prince’ Naidjala and Joseph ‘Smokey Joe’ Hilongwa, according to promoter Nestor Tobias.

The main prize for both boxers is not so much being ranked the best boxer in the country in the bantamweight class, nor is it the improved world rating that the winner is expected to receive.

The one thing that is of paramount significance to both fighters is the prestige of being the finest athlete to come from Okalongo, a village situated in the Omusati Region.

Not surprisingly, there is overwhelming interest from Okalongo in the fight, with well-wishers and supporters keen on details pertaining to the wellbeing of the boxers in the lead up to the fight.

“This is a fight that people have been waiting to see. It is a dream fight. These are the country’s top fighters in their category. They grew up together and know each other very well. I’m very excited,” Tobias told reporters at the pre-fight medical on Tuesday.

“Almost every day I have been on the phone talking to both [Naidjala and Hilongwa’s] their parents. They want to know how they [boxers] are and they say they are supporting the fight. They said everyone is talking about it and they [parents] will be there [at the Windhoek Country Club],” said Tobias.

Title holder Naidjala reckons he already is the pride of Okalongo, given his achievements to date. Apart from the continental WBO strap, Naidjala has held the IBF International bantamweight title, which he relinquished when he challenged Japan’s Tomoki Kameda for the WBO bantamweight world title in December. The Japanese handed Naidjala his first career loss.

“I can’t remember him [Hilongwa] having a battle in which he came out and you say ‘eish! Smokey is hot’,” said 29 year-old Naidjala, who wants another shot at a world title

Hilongwa, who represented Namibia at the 2004 Olympic Games – his biggest achievement to date – believes his time has come to assume the throne.

The tough-talking Hilongwa (32) is also familiar with winning titles, having held the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental super flyweight title in 2013, the World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African flyweight title from 2010 to 2013 and the Namibian flyweight title since 2008.

“The nation will see a great fight and they will witness a new champion being crowned. When you come, you won’t be disappointed. Only if you’re supporting the other side,” the still undefeated Hilongwa said confidently.

The No Mercy III bonanza will also include a WBO Africa lightweight title fight between holder Martin ‘Black Poison’ Haikali against challenger Samuel ‘The Hammer’ Kapapu.

Other fights include a WBO Africa Junior welterweight title fight between champion Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo and Takudzwa Kuchocha from Zimbabwe a WBO Africa flyweight title fight between Abmerk Shindjuu and Japhet Utoni and a featherweight national title contest in which Sakaria ‘Desert Storm’ Lukas will challenge Tommy ‘Show Man’ Nakashimba for the belt.

Tickets to the event are available at Computicket at N$200 for general tickets and N$10 000 for a VIP table seating 10 with snacks and beverages.

You can also buy your tickets at the MTC Sunshine offices and Namibian Boxing Control Board.

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Source : The Namibian