BOTSWANA boxer Kenneth Okwoleng was yesterday knocked out cold in the second round and needed to be rushed to the hospital in an unconscious state after being battered by Zambia's Mbachi Kaonga in a gold medal fight at the ongoing Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games.
With Kaonga winning gold, the third for the Zambian boxing team on the day, Zambia's gold medal haul at the Games was raised to 10 and news from the athletics field at the Olympics Youth development centre (OYDC) that two medals had been won raised the medal count to 26.
In a middleweight contest that was also closing the boxing events of the Zone Six Games, Kaonga's performance was a true reflection of saving the best for last.
Kaonga started on a high note, pushing the Tswana from the first bell and warnings of a bad knock-out were first exposed when Okwoleng went cold after a right hook to the chin and needed a mandatory eight-count to stay in the fight and was afterwards saved by the bell.
Trailing 6-7, Okwoleng come into the second round stronger and pushed Kaonga but the Zambian boxer stood firm and his vicious fight back hit the Tswana everywhere and with less than a minute to the end of the round, a straight punch to the face saw Okwoleng drop to the canvas and failed to beat the 10 second count.
Medics rushed into the ring and the first aid administered on him did little to help the boxer get to his feet and moments later, Okwoleng passed out, was taken out of the ring on a stretcher onto a waiting ambulance outside the hall and straight to the hospital.
That was gold medal number three for Zambia after team captain Charles Lumbwe and Ben Sakutamba had already won two gold medals from the boxing rings out of a possible five on the day which also brought Zambia two silver medals.
Lumbwe defeated Jonas Junior in a light-welterweight contest through a 25-19 score in which he won the fight in the first two rounds and the Namibian could not wait for the bell to save him in the third round as he was being beaten left right and centre.
Welterweight Sakutamba won a really tight affair, finishing three rounds tied on 11 point on an electronic scoring and when the five judges' scores were totalled, he took the gold with a 54-47 score.
The other two Zambian boxers involved in the finals and won silver medals were light-welterweight Lawrence Mukuta who lost on a 25-19 decision to South African Lerato Dlamini, who was the only gold medal winner for his country, while Caristo Bwalya was stopped in the third round after he started bleeding in a bout against Lesotho's Suntele Inkululeko.
Lesotho actually had a successful tournament as they picked up a second gold in the bantamweight category when their boxer Qhobosheane Mohlerepe defeated South Africa's Ronald Malindi via a 25-12 points decision.
The other bout of the day saw South Africa lose another gold medal bout through a 22-13 score to Botswana's Steven Bangwasi in a flyweight contest.