Murangi at 70 on a risky, age-defying pursuit
By Michael Uugwanga
IT has been 41 years since Joe Murangi’s last fight, which was against Booster Tjeriko at the Katutura Community Hall in Windhoek, in 1979.
This week, Murangi who has been training since 2014, hoping to get a boxing licence from the Namibia Boxing Control Board (NBCB) told Confidente Sports Desk about his plan of making a return to the ring at the ripe old age of 70, despite knowing that this could turn out to be a suicide mission.
Murangi however said that he still feels like a 40-year-old and therefore plans to fight in an exhibition fight before deciding on whether to continue fighting at either amateur level or at professional level.
“I just turned 70 in August. Physically I am 40. I had a boxing licence way back and now I want to renew it. This will not be a real fight but an exhibition fight. I have been planning to do an exhibition but for some reason the boxing officials of that time were against it. My last fight against Tjeriko was at the end of January in 1979 but I lost that fight in the sixth round.
“I want to exhibit. By the way, Joe Archer (former Namibian boxer) went to South Africa for his professional debut at an old age. I am currently doing some jogging as I currently do not have a gym. For now I will be concentrating on my body conditioning over the Christmas period till next year January.”
Born in Otjihavera in the Brakwater district in the Khomas region, Murangi is a former learner at Dobra Secondary School, where he fell in love with boxing in 1962 – having been inspired by the late former then South West Africa lightweight great Israel ‘Bomber’ Brown.
On November 28, two former world champions Mike Iron Tyson who last fought some 15 years ago had an exhibition match with Roy Jones Jr who last fought two years ago in a fight that ended in a draw.
Namibia’s legendary boxer and former World Boxing Organisation (WBO) world champion Harry Terminator Simon aged 48 is still actively boxing even though he still struggling to attract sponsors in order for him to continue boxing.
American great Bernhard Hopkins was the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Association (IBA) light-heavyweight world champion at age 49.
Said Murangi: “I am a living legend. I do not have a personal trainer for now but I will sort this out by January once I am in top form physically. When one goes into a battle, one does not concentrate on dying. Cassius Clay a.k.a late Muhammad Ali, not everyone liked him, but he literary carried boxing on his shoulders in the 1960s to most of the 1970s.
“During my boxing years there were only two sectioning boxing bodies, World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) and I am still waiting for responses from the two bodies as I have requested for an international recognition. I need someone who will give me a good workout when we get down to business. I will soon release my workout on video even though some folks (boxers) might get scared of me. I just want to do the same way (Mike) Tyson did against (Roy) Jones Jr. (sic)
“My boxing licence as a professional expired about four to five years ago without fighting. I have not yet spoken with the current leaders at control board but I would like to do that, perhaps next year”.