Tanzania will be represented by five boxers in Men’s World Boxing Championships starting on May 1 in Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent.
The President of Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT) Lukelo Willilo said the five boxers include their two bronze medallists in last year’s Commonwealth Games, light-middleweight Kassim Mbundwike (pictured) and light-heavyweight Yusuf Changalawe.
Others are featherweight Ezra Paul, light-welter Alex Isendi and super-heavy Alex Sita.
“We’re taking our best boxers to Tashkent as we aim to maintain our momentum in Burmingham, we’re not just competing but going for medals,” said a confident Willilo. Tanzania and Uganda were the two East African country to win medals in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Kenya returned home empty-handed.
“Right now in Tanzania there’s renewed vigour to do well in boxing because of the full support from our president Samia Suluhu, she’s so committed on sports development, ” said Willilo.
Travelling as coach is Samwel “Batman” Kapungu and the team manager is Asha George Voniatis.
This is the fourth time Tanzania is taking part in Men’s World Boxing Championships. The first time was in 1974 in the inaugural World Championships in Havana, Cuba. Tanzania’s boxers in Havana were light-flyweight Emmanuel Mlundwa, welterweight Wilbert Musa, middleweight Felix Joseph and light-heavyweight Joseph Magesa. The last time Tanzania won a gold medal in a major international event was in 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur through the late bantamweight Michael Yombayomba.
In addition to Tanzania, among other African countries expected to be in Tashkent are Morocco, Algeria, Mozambique, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Burundi, DR Congo, Guinea, Eswatini, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.
The African teams are going to Tashkent well aware of their lacklustre performance in the last two Men’s World Championships in 2019 in Russia and 2021 in Belgrade. They won no medal in both tournaments.
Africa’s last medal in the Men’s World Championships came via Cameroon’s super-heavyweight Arsene Fokou Fosso in 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Africa has so far won four gold medals in Men’s World Championships from Uganda’s light-welter Ayub Kalule in 1974, Kenya’s light-flyweight Steve Muchoki and Nigeria’s lightweight Davidson Andeh in 1978 and Morocco’s welterweight Mohammed Rabii in 2015 in Doha.
Credit: AFBC Communications