The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Sportsman of the year, Zibani Chikanda will be in action at a boxing interclub tournament in Selebi Phikwe this weekend.
Chikanda will be eager to please the fans and trade leather with his opponent at the Eastern Military Garrison (EMG). Selebi Phikwe also happens to be his home ground and the 75kg slugger will be aiming to please the crowd with a win and establish himself as middleweight kingpin. The past few years have been good to Chikanda who has been living in the shadow of popular boxers such as Oteng Oteng and the Bagwasi brothers.
Recently, Chikanda has been on a roll hauling medals from numerous international competitions like the 2015 All Africa games, Zone 4, AIBA world championships before walking away with the Sportsman of the year award. “I have not been in the ring since March when I came back from the 2016 Olympic qualifier in Cameroon. At the last interclub tournament at Glen Valley I did not have an opponent and the next tournament scheduled for Hukuntsi was cancelled,” he said.
However, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) officer said he would not have any ring rust, as he makes sure he keeps his body in fighting shape all the time. I am a senior boxer so I am always ready to compete. Chikanda said he expected to be matched up with top quality boxers at the inter club tournament on Saturday. “I expected to face the likes of Mmusi Tswiige or Lentswe Zwinila. They are not in my weight class so they have to go up in weight to face me.”
The 31 year old said he would be ready for either of his opponents, as he understands the styles and approach of both boxers. In an interview this week, BoBA spokesperson Kenny Maragana said Chikanda would be the main attraction at his home coming fight after winning the BNSC award. Chikanda has strength and endurance. His other attribute is resilience; he is also a workaholic as his opponents usually run out of steam.
“The other EMG based boxers to look out for will be the exciting super heavyweight Oteng Phatswe as his bouts with Maun’s Innocent Chombo usually pull the crowd.” There will be other big names, including Gaolathe Mpotsang (64kg), Thabang Motsewabeng, Robbie Botshelo, Motlatsi Mokobeng and the Bagwasi brothers (Kabelo and Kagiso).
This will be the 6th interclub tournament of the year. Maragana said there is likely to be six more interclub tournaments before the national championships that take place in October. “In order to qualify for the national championships a boxer must compete in at least 70 percent of interclub tournaments.” Maragana said they expected the military leadership and the area MP Dithapelo Keorapetse to attend the tournament.