Boxing fraternity pays tribute to icon Hantindi

By Michael Uugwanga

LAST week the Namibian boxing fraternity lost renowned boxing trainer Joseph Hantindi who passed away on January 7 after suffering from a short illness and was laid to rest at his home village of Ohakweenyanga in Ongwediva district on Wednesday.

Hantindi had been a trainer with MTC Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy since the early 2000s and played a big role in the growth of local professional boxers such as  Julius Indongo, Paulus Ambunda, Paulus Moses, Frans Hantindi, Walter Kautondokwa, Harry Simon Jr, Jeremiah Nakathila, Bethuel Ushona and Sakaria Lukas, just to mention a few.

He also trained his brother Frans better known as ‘Rambo’.

Rambo is the first Namibian boxer to win the Pan-African title after winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African Welterweight title in 2001.

Other boxers that heavily benefited from the late are Moses who became the second Namibian after legendary boxer Harry Simon to win a world title when he won the WBA Lightweight world title in 2009 before Ambunda won two world titles, the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Bantamweight title in 2013 and the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) Super-Bantamweight title in 2015.

Indongo was the last Namibian world champion to benefit from Hantindi when he won three world titles, the WBA, IBO and International Boxing Federation (IBF) crowns between 2016 and 2017.

Rambo said that his late brother had trained him at the professional rank.

“He trained me when I turned professional in 2000. He was my younger brother. His death really shocked me since we are blood brothers. We grew up together at the village (Ohakweenyanga),” said Hantindi.

Ambunda who parted ways with the academy in 2017 was also trained by Hantindi when he turned professional in 2007.

“It was him (Hantindi) and Siegfried ‘SBK’ Kaperu that trained me when I turned professional. He was a humble person and was also kind. He was a problem solver, as he would always find a way to solve a problem when for example two boxers had a personal issue.  It is a huge loss to boxing as he left behind a big gap,” said Ambunda.

Indongo who was accompanied by Hantindi, Nestor Tobias (then promoter) and current trainer Immanuel Moses to Russia in 2016 when he beat Eduard Troyanovsky to win the IBO and IBF titles recalls how the late used to motivate him in training and ahead of a fight.

Indongo and Hantindi are also from the same village of Ohakweenyanga and share the same birthday date, February 12.

“Hantindi was a great coach when it comes to conditioning.  He would always motivate you in order to help you remain focused. I can recall during my first world titles in Moscow when I saw him laughing unconditionally for the first time in my life. We celebrated our birthdays the same day and we would always send each other birthday wishes. We have lost a great champion,” said Indongo.

Chairman and promoter of Sunshine, Tobias who knew Hantindi from their early days as coaches said that Hantindi played a big role in the country’s boxing circle.

“The late Hantindi was a well-known boxing coach and played a crucial role in molding so many world champions. He was a boxer himself plying his trade at Welterweight before joining MTC Sunshine as a coach in 2003.  He will forever be remembered for the role he played in taking Namibian boxing to the world”.

Chairman of the Namibia Boxing Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board, Dr. Bernard Haufiku described Hantindi as a true pioneer of boxing.

“He was a well known boxing trainer and coach of note across all weight divisions and for a very long time; a dedicated member of the champions in making from his boxing academy. He has been, for more than 20 years, part of professional boxing success story in Namibia – a leading member of the team that flies the Namibian flag high and puts our country on the boxing world map, thanks to his unwavering and uncompromising commitment”.