Born in Tobane village, a few kilometres outside the copper mining town of Selebi-Phikwe, Moabi ‘The Eagle’ Ngaka had no idea that one day he would be standing tall with a World Boxing Federation (WBF) Super Bantamweight belt around his waist.
The 24-year old Ngaka wrote his name in the professional boxing history books on Friday night when he defeated title holder, Onkarabile 'Scara' Mothibedi at the Gaborone International Convention Centre. South African referee, Ben Ncapi had seen enough and stopped the match in the 11th round of the scheduled 12. Despite the knockout, it was a closely contested fight with Mothibedi striking from the first round. Ngaka came back to overwork Mothibedi, especially when the fight reached the championship round nine.
Ngaka told Mmegi Sport that when he stepped into the ring, he knew that he was going to walk away as the champ. Ngaka brought his 'happy' demeanour into the bout and was calm throughout the fight. When the boxers returned to their corners to rest, hydrate and receive tactical instructions from their trainers, Ngaka would stand while his opponent took a seat, probably a sign of his confidence. In his career, he now has a record of six wins and one loss.
When he was a student at Goldmine Junior Secondary School in 2011, Ngaka was always in trouble with the school authorities for fighting.
“I used to confront bullies and put them in their little corners. So one day, one of the teachers, Gilbert Mambo introduced me to boxing. Before long I was in love with this newly found passion,” he said.
Ngaka started his primary school education at Foresthill English Medium School in Kanye and completed his education at Marulamantsi Junior Secondary School.
He said when he started boxing, his parents Michael and Julia Ngaka thought he would not make it because they felt that he was too soft. That did not stop him as he proceeded to join the DTCB Boxing Club as an amateur boxer in 2012. Ngaka said during his days as an amateur, the fight that stands out was against Kabo Seitshiro. In 2018, Thuso Khubamang convinced him to turn professional and he gained confidence.
“I fight in the Drad Boxing Stable, trained by Thebe Setlalekgosi. He is result-oriented and strives to bring out the best in all his boxers,” he said.
Drad has some of the best boxers, which include Kutlwano Ogaketse, Kagiso and Steven Bagwasi.
Ngaka said his win has now opened doors for him to explore his career. He said his immediate plan is to contest for the vacant World Boxing Organisation (WBO) super bantam title. The Eagle said his role model is American boxing superstar, Floyd Mayweather because of his hard work.
“The challenge that we face as professional boxers is that we do not have many competitions in this country. Fighting once in a year is not enough. We need more matches to perfect our art. Now that I am going to face the world, I need more support,” he said.
Ngaka said there is still a need for sponsors in professional boxing. The WBF champion is sponsored by Alpha Direct.
His trainer, Setlalekgosi said he has known Ngaka since the boxer was 11-years-old.
“It has been a father and son relationship. He is down to earth and disciplined. He was brought up properly; he respects elders and his teammates. It is easy to work with him. It has been 13 years working with him,” he said.
When asked why Ngaka had to stand during the break, Setlalekgosi explained that when a boxer is fit, some prefer to stand during a break and that reduces fear.
“Sometimes when you sit down during the break, you bring in fear. You can sit down and get too relaxed, leading to blood circulation being affected and you become a bit crumpy. Ngaka felt that he was physically fit and preferred to stand. It was his choice because he was the one feeling the heat. I had given him an option to sit but he choose to stand,” he said.
Setlalekgosi said he understood what the boxer meant when he said he was fine as it eliminates shock and fatigue. He said he could see that he was in perfect shape and did not struggle in the fight.
Full names: Moabi Ngaka
Nickname: The Eagle
Date of birth: August 8, 1997
Place of birth: Tobane
Profession: PRO boxer
Title: WBF Super Bantamweight
Career: Six wins and one loss
Club: Drad Boxing Club
Hobbies: Playing 5-a-side football