Boxing in Namibia has grown tremendously in the last couple of years, and boxers from all corners of the country, have flocked to the city in search of greener pastures, but very few people have become household names. Those that have made it have had to endure a lot of suffering on their way to stardom.
This week, the Economist caught up with one of the leading boxing figures, 31-year-old Tommy Nakashimba, the Namibian Featherweight National Champion.
Nakashimba was born and bred in the Onayena village in the Oshikoto Region and his story is no different from that of any other Namibian child. What distinguishes him, however, was perhaps his passion for boxing.
As a young boy, he grew up herding cattle and cultivating his parents' mahangu field. From an early age, he says he was destined to be a fighter."Growing up, I heard of the big guys like Harry Simon that were making a name for themselves in boxing and I felt isolated. I would listen to live radio boxing matches and I was fascinated. I said to myself that I want to be like that one day," recollects the cheerful Nakashimba.
His aspiration prompted him to migrate to Windhoek to pursue his dream as a boxer, a journey filled with enormous hurdles, but has turned out to be rewarding in the end.
In 2001, Nakashimba launched his boxing career as an amateur boxer at the then Central Club. But it was only in 2006 when he exchanged blows against Mathew Naitembu in his first professional match in Ongwediva under the Nampol Boxing Club.
Known as "Show" by his fans and foes alike because of his eccentric ways when in the ring, Nakashimba without doubt is in a class of his own as far as the Namibian featherweight division is concerned.
While his instant goal was to become a Featherweight National Champion, something he achieved on September 14 after scoring a points victory over Matheus Kandala, Nakashimba's objective now is to become a world champion, and soon.
He says every boxer's dream is to be a world champion. "It takes lots of hard work, dedication and a strong technical team which I believe I have."
Earlier this month, Nakashimba took on Zimbabwean Tinashe Mutodza in an International Featherweight fight, a fight he won by a technical knockout by sending his opponent to the canvas in the first round. One can definitely agree that Nakashimba is a force to be reckoned with in the boxing fraternity.
Although boxing has been very rewarding to him, financial support has proven to be problematic and is stalling his path to greatness
Nakishimba is currently signed under the Tiger Cage Boxing Club and trains six-times a week. Besides his boxing career, he is also a carpenter and is looking into establishing his own carpentry company.