Local boxing enthusiasts will not be seeing the 2012 Olympian and multiple national champion Oteng Oteng in the boxing ring anytime soon. This is so because the popular flyweight (52kg) sensation has chosen to put his sporting programme on hold to heed the calling of his academic career.
It has been a while since local boxing followers have last seen the 25 year old from Mookane village who is currently studying for an Information Technology qualification at Botho University in Gaborone. He is scheduled to complete the course he is studying next year.
“I realised that it was time to prioritize and focus on my academic career for now. I am not certain when I will return to the ring at this time. However, I often pop into the Tsholofelo Boxing Club’s ring for training sessions,” the taciturn athlete told BG Sport this week.
Oteng, who lost in the preliminary stages at the 2012 London Olympic games, said he last competed in the ring just before the 2015 All Africa Games held at Brazzaville, Congo, adding that he will now be competing in the 56kg division.
Oteng, who was rated by many a well-rounded and pound for pound boxer, also confirmed that he will not be competing at the preliminary stages of the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) national championship scheduled for this weekend. Thus the boxing supporters will continue to wait with bated breath for Oteng to return and take on the likes of high-riding Kabelo Bagwasi and Tirafalo Seoko.
In an interview this week, Tsholofelo Boxing Club’s headcoach Lechedzani ‘Master ‘ Luza confirmed Oteng’s study commitments. “This is why he did not go to the 2015 All Africa Games. He comes out of school late, making it difficult for him to train and travel for competitions,” Luza said.
Nevertheless, Luza said they are in consultation with local sports authorities on the matter as Oteng remains an elite athlete. He added that Oteng only competed in two interclub tournaments this year, thus failing to even qualify him for this weekend’s boxing tournament as a total of five bouts are required for one to qualify for the national championships.
The national championships’ preliminaries are set for the University of Botswana beginning this Saturday until Sunday. In the absence of Oteng, boxing lovers can still expect to enjoy fights featuring the likes of Zibani Chikanda and Thabang Motsewabeng in the 81kg category as well as Mmusi Tswiige, Keoagile Rantutu and current national champion Lentswe Zwinila in the 69kg bracket. The 64 kg category will feature national team boxers Kagiso Bagwasi and Kabo Seitshiro who might be put together at the matching up of boxers this Friday.
There are other prominent boxers at the 60kg division in the form of national team stars Kabelo Bagwasi an rival Alpheus Farmer. Mohamed Otukile and Onkarabile Mothibedi at 52kg will also compete, with the boxing association also confirming that ladies Keneilwe Rakhudu and Pearl Morake will also be part of the women fighters. While men had to compete in five interclub events to qualify, women had to compete in only two fights. The preliminary fight will be followed by the semi finals set for November 21 and 22, and the ultimate showdown is set for early next year.