Namibia: Natanael to Defend Title in Ghana

SEBASTIANUS Natanael leaves for Accra, Ghana on Monday to defend his WBO Africa featherweight title against the unbeaten Ghanaian John Laryea on 30 July.

The 30-year-old Natanael is the more experienced boxer with a record of 12 wins and two defeats, but he will face a young upcoming boxer in the 21-year-old Laryea, who is still undefeated after nine fights.

Natanael won the vacant WBO Africa featherweight title in impressive style when he knocked out Jeremiah Mhere of Zimbabwe after only two minutes 43 seconds of the first round at the Windhoek Country Club in April, and although he has not been in action since then, he has continued to train and is in top shape according to his manager Nestor Tobias.

"Sebastianus only took a two-week break and then he was back in the gym to prepare for the Laryea fight. We were supposed to fight him in June but the fight was postponed due to Covid-19. Sebastianus just continued training, so now he is in the best shape of his life and we are going there to win," he said.

Laryea only started his professional career three years ago, but he has won eight of his nine fights, with one being a draw, while he won the Ghanaian featherweight title in his last fight in March.

Natanael on the other hand, has been a pro fighter for close to seven years now, while he has lost two of his 14 fights.

Both those fights were away from home, when he lost a unanimous decision to Muhamad Ridhwan in Singapore for the IBO international super featherweight title in October 2017, and a split decision to Sibusiso Zingange in South Africa for the WBA Pan African super featherweight title in February 2019.

Tobias said he hoped the officiating will be fair.

"When you fight away from home there are a lot of challenges, you are under pressure from the fans and the officials can give the advantage to the home boxer.

"But it's not the first time that he will fight outside Namibia and I'm sure he will adapt. The WBO must still announce who the judges will be, but we hope for the best and will go there to win," he added.

Tobias said a victory will give Natanael a top 10 world ranking.

"I know he can do it, he must just fight like it's his last fight. It's a very important fight that he must win, because then he will get a top 10 world ranking and his path to a world title fight will be open," he said.

"Laryea is a young upcoming kid, and his camp has a lot of faith in him - they challenged Sebastianus for his WBO Africa title, but I have full confidence in him and we will just go there to defend our title," he added.

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