Local professional boxer, Tshepang 'Gearbox' Babui has last week missed out on a golden opportunity to become the first local professional boxer to win an international title.
On Friday evening, the boxer lost the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Africa Junior Featherweight title to South African fighter, Tholumusa Ngema at the Boipuso Hall.
Despite losing through a unanimous decision, Babui put up a gallant performance in what turned out to be an entertaining bout. Gearbox was looking to claim the Africa Junior Featherweight belt. This was his first loss from nine bouts.
The 24-year-old is the third local boxer to have a shot at an international title after Leslie Sekotswe failed to clinch IBF Bantamweight title against Namibian, Immanuel Naidjala five years ago and Steven ‘Small’ Bagwasi losing to South Africa’s Ayanda ‘Greyhound’ Nkosi, for the WBA Pan African Lightweight title last December.
From the start, Babui looked in control using his speed and power to outplay his opponent. He was scoring points and looked like he would knockout Ngema anytime.
However, at Round Seven he looked to tire and this gave his opponent some edge. Ngema seized the opportunity and landed a jab that floored Gearbox.
Although he managed to survive that moment, it affected his confidence, as he never fought with the same vigour he had, even when the home crowd cheered him on.
After the match, Babui said he was happy with his performance despite losing the fight.
“I don’t know where I lost it. I stuck to my
“I worked hard, I controlled the fight for the better part, but I was up against a smarter boxer. He used his height advantage. He picked because he has the reach. I was attacking most of the time while he was defensive, yeah, it’s part of the game, but I will come back stronger. I have been given another chance and I am going to have a go at it again.”
His opponent said although he was certain that he would win the fight, he found it tough in the ring.
“I knew that since my opponent was home, he will use the home ground advantage but I was confident that I will win the match because I prepared for this match very well,” said Ngema.
“I didn’t know my opponent that well but I felt good because in the ring I was pushing and catching him with many punches. I can beat him again if we get a rematch.”
Babui’s trainer and promoter, Thuso ‘Scud’ Khubamang said the stocky boxer fought like a warrior and certain that he would be a champion soon. He said he is happy that WBF has given him another shot at the title in December.