The light-welterweight division is like a bomb just about to explode going by the formidable pairings matched by the 14 equally strong boxers lining up for the $1million total prize money at stake.
As the 21st edition of Africa Boxing Championships gets underway on Sunday, July 30, here in Yaounde, Cameroon, boxing fans can’t wait for a battle royale in the this 60 – 63.5kg weight class.
In the mix are two gold medallists in last year’s Africa event, Richarno Colin (pictured) of Mauritius and Algeria’s Aitbeka Jugurtha, Morocco’s bronze medallist Nadir Abdelhaq, Eswatini’s Thabiso Dlamini who has undergone extensive training in Moscow.
Enter three fast-rising youngsters Nigeria’s Ige Ridwan, Uganda’s Commonwealth Games quarter-finalist Joshua Takamuhebwa and Cameroon’s Oumarou Mohamed who was very impressive in Men’s World Championships in Tashkent..
And then there’s the free-punching powder keg on his own from DR Congo, Mbaya Mulumba who accounted well for himself in Tashkent and the Golden Belt series tournament early this year in Marrakesh, Morocco. For those who understand Swahili, you know what the word, mbaya, means.
Mbaya Mulumba is pitted against Oumarou Mohamed in pre-quarters with the winner facing Algeria’s Aitbeka Jugurtha who received a bye to the quarters. The Algerian won gold in Maputo 2022 at welter but has now dropped down to light-welter.
Defending champion Richarno Colin tackles stubborn Ugandan southpaw Joshua Takamuhebwa who has vowed to silence his more experienced opponent. The duo have met twice with Colin winning both fights. The last time they fought was in Maputo 2022 Africa Championships.
“I’m ready to shock him now,” says a confident Takamuhebwa, “I dropped him down in Mozambique but the judgement wasn’t fair.”
Colin is the most experienced among all the light-welters. He’s a three-time Olympian in 2008, 2012 and 2020. He won gold at the 2011 African Games in Maputo and has won two medals in the Commonwealth Games – a bronze in 2010 and a silver in 2022.
Nigeria’s smart southpaw Ige Ridwan is expected to carry his impressive showing in the World Championships when he fights Kenya’s Anthony Maina with the winner meeting Congo’s Dzalamu Malonga in the quarters.
Zone 4 bronze medallist Thabiso Dlamini is aiming to put into good use all the knowledge he has gained in his Moscow training against Mali’s Bakari Diallo.
“I don’t know much about Diallo but it’s not going to be a walk in the park for either of us, we came here to work, we have all been preparing for the games so we will see,” said Thabiso in an interview with him here in Yaounde.
Last year’s bronze medallist in Maputo, Morocco’s Nadir Abdelhaq battles Senegal’s Souleymane Diallo in another tough light-welterweight bout while Burundi’s Uwimana Amissi is drawn against South Africa’s indefatigable John Paul Masamba with the winners clashing in the quarters..
For the gamblers, these are unpredictable match-ups. Do it at your own risk..
Credit: AFBC Communications