Namibia: Three African Titles for Salute Academy

THE MTC Salute Boxing Academy is starting to become a continental force after two more African title victories over the weekend took its overall tally to three African titles.

On Sunday, Lukas Ndofoluma retained his WBO Africa middleweight title after a unanimous points decision against Cristiano Ndombassy of Angola, while Immanuel Josef won the vacant WBO Africa flyweight title after beating Sihle Jelwana of South Africa on a fifth round technical knockout.

They now join a third Namibian boxer - Sebastianus Nathanael, in the Salute stable with an African title, with the latter having left for Ghana on Monday to defend his WBO featherweight title against John Laryea in Accra this weekend.

At a press conference yesterday shortly after the boxers' return from Gqeberha, South Africa, John Ekongo of MTC said their investment in boxing was starting to bear fruit.

"Today is a joyous occasion and another milestone in the history of the Salute Boxing Academy. We started this partnership about three years ago and now we have three African titles.

"The sceptics were saying why do we invest in boxing, but they are delivering the goods and we must start thinking about placing Namibia on the sporting map and taking our brand outside our borders. We need to start creating a self-sustaining industry that creates a livelihood for the talents that we have here - for us development is king through this partnership," he said.

Fredrich Nghiyolwa, an MTC Salute Boxing Academy executive member said the boxers did the nation proud. "We are proud to bring you the spoils of victory... . And thanks to MTC, this is the result of the faith and support they have put into us. We are putting the Namibian flag up there in the international arena. The road ahead will be tough, because we are now the champions, but with MTC alongside us we will make sure that we will remain victorious," he said.

Ndafoluma thanked his promoter for the faith he had shown in him.

"I want to thank my promoter, (Kiriat Kamanya), he took me in and trusted in me when no one else did, so it's thanks to him that I am now a champion. I am a man on a mission - to successfully defend my title and to become a world champion.

"The fight was tough, but we kept on going and did our job so I want to thank God for my victory. I'm looking forward to big things and with MTC by our side we can do it," he said.

Ndafoluma said

Josef said he took his opponent to school.

"I went to represent Namibia and to make our sponsors proud, so I went there to fight and to take what was on the table. I fought a home boy and although he was talking a lot before the fight I just said I'll do my talking in the ring.

So on Sunday we went into the ring and I took him to school. It wasn't easy but thanks to my team - their support helped me to achieve this," he said.

Now Im just waiting to hear from my management what they are planning next for me, but my aim is to win the world title. I want to defend my African title against quality boxers that will take me to the top of the rankings and lead me to a world title fight," he added.

A third Namibian boxer, Tomas Shifiona also competed on the same bill, but lost on points against Sange Ngoza of South Africa. He said it was very difficult to win under the circumstances.

"I went to fight over six rounds against a South African who was undefeated after three fights. The judges and the referee were all South Africans and I was the last fighter on the card and after our other two Namibians won their fights, I knew it would be tough to win the fight on points."

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