Gaborone — Botswana's junior featherweight fighter, Tshephang Babui, added a sad record to his professional boxing career when he lost to South African Tholumusa Ngema in Gaborone on May 17.
The high profile World Boxing Federation (WBF) junior featherweight title match played before a sold-out crowd and broadcast live on national television became the first ever loss recorded by the stocky boxer after nine professional bouts.
The much-anticipated fight started immediately after five other supporting bouts between South Africa and Batswana boxers. The latter won all the matches.
When the first bell rang, the two boxers stood toe-to-toe trading blows in every second of the entire first five rounds of the 10 round match.
When the eighth round approached, Ngema became the aggressor throwing more effective punches and dictating movement around the ring.
Babui failed to seize the momentum in front of the home crowd who tried to edge him to soldier on chanting Gearbox, Gearbox!!
For much of the last remaining rounds to a bitter end. Ngema wore white trunks engraved 'Pastor' or Nfundisi in his vernacular, appeared to have hurt Babui midway through the eighth round.
He connected a pair of combinations and finally floored him with a well taken left hook. The punch attracted a standing eight count from the referee but Babui quickly stood up but with much-drained energy.
From then on he failed to recapture the energy he displayed in the initial rounds.
As the last round approached Ngema, who looked fresh the entire match looked to have done enough to take the belt and as expected when the final bell sounded his coach rushed out of his corner to hoist him aloft while Babui dejectedly waited for the judges' scorecard to be read.