Female boxer eyes Commonwealth Games

• By Michael Uugwanga

FEMALE boxers are starting to make their name in the sport that for long has been viewed as a man’s sport, as more women now taking up boxing and Namibia is no exception.

One female pugilist making a name for herself is Shalongo ‘Nande’ Naanda (26), who wants to follow in the footsteps of the only Namibian female professional boxer Martina Tjauha, whom she idolises.

Naanda is a flyweight boxer from Oshikoto region who is also inspired by two former world champions Paulus ‘Hitman’ Moses and Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo.

“I have been watching Tjauha as she is the one that really inspired me to become a boxer. Even when I was still very young I always wanted to become a boxer but there was no one to inspire me.

“However I can say that Hitman and Blue Machine are the two boxers that I also used to watch while growing up.”

She is on the books of Namibia Police Force (NamPol) boxing club in Katutura, Windhoek and is coached by well-respected mentor, Kenneth Mwatara.

“One day I decided to go out of the house in search of boxing gym, only to meet one boxer at NamPol who I asked if I wanted to join boxing … from there it was history. I am so happy to be coached by Mwatara as he is one of the best trainers,” said Naanda who joined the club in 2020.

Her last fight was against Ludwina Nakare on March 27 in Eenhana at the national championship that was hosted by the Namibia Boxing Federation.

The Namibia Boxing Federation is now putting up a team comprising both males and females that is going to represent the country in Mozambique, which will play host to the Africa Commonwealth Games qualifier later this month, and Naanda is expected to be among those boxers that will be on the list.

Meanwhile, Naanda’s idol Tjauha fights under the Zimbabwe National Boxing Control Board, since the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board’s (NPBWCB) outdated Boxing Act of 1980, prohibits female boxers to fight as professionals.

Like Tjauha, Naanda has three amateur fights to her name and is now aiming at becoming the first female boxer to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August this year, while also targeting the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in France.

“My dream is to fight at the Commonwealth Games and at the Olympic Games. I can assure you that I am going to qualify to the Commonwealth Games. It is every boxer’s dream to become a world champion and this is also my dream,” she said.