Tsholofelo Boxing stable, one of the country’s most successful stables, last week celebrated its 30th anniversary. The club in conjunction the University of Botswana Boxing club has been the most influential club in the country, producing not only top notch boxers but administrators alike. The Tsholofelo boxing club has since its formation in 1986 produced top quality boxers who represented the country at various continental and international competitions. These include club founder and retired boxer France Mabiletsa, Healer Modiradilo, Khumiso Ikgopoleng, Lechedzani Luza, Thuso Khubamang to name but a few. These are some of the iconic names that the clubs is associated with. Even today they are still doing a lot in the development of boxing in and outside the country. Modiradilo is currently Botswana Boxing Association’s sports development officer while Ikgopoleng is a highly rated boxing coach that Botswana has ever produced. He is now based in the USA as a coach.
To keep the UB/Tsholofelo boxing club’s flame burning Mabiletsa remained with the club having gone through the ranks to become the current chairman. He is said to have been an instrumental player in the administration of this club to this point. Speaking at the 30th anniversary ceremony last week Mabiletsa said the club is what it is today because of hard work and determination for the boxers. Mabiletsa revealed that the club was formed to provide developmental grounds for boxers as well as help their academics. He pointed out that they wanted to bring boxing and education together for the wellbeing of boxers. “It has been known over the world that most boxers were not educated and we wanted to change this,” revealed Mabiletsa. The club has indeed managed to turn this around as all of its successful boxers have tertiary education qualification. According to Mabiletsa, he always made sure that the athletes were doing well in both the classroom and boxing. If certain student would not perform well in academics he would be suspended for a while to correct the grades before being allowed back to boxing.
Even after 30 years UB/Tsholofelo boxing club is looking at extend this initiative of boxing and education. University of Botswana Vice Chancellor Professor Martin Mokgwathi said that boxing and education have to come together. Mokgwathi said through the partnership of UB and Tsholofelo the main objective was to produce future leaders through boxing who also have a good educational background. “The club has since been able to attain this as it is visible through the products the club have,” said Mokgwathi. He revealed that now his desire was to see the University of Botswana starting scholarships for boxers to further their mandate of producing educated boxers. Even though the club has done well in the past, in the past year it has not done much. However the stable coach Lechedzani Luza promised that they will soon be going back to their good times. Luza is optimistic that the pact that they have started with The Corner Boxing club for USA will help them to go back to their glory days.
UB/Tsholofelo club and the Colorado, USA based club will see them exchange boxers to learn from each other. The Corner Boxing club is a base of former Botswana national coach Khumiso Ikgopoleng. Through the pact, UB/Tsholofelo’s boxers will go to the USA for a period of a month to train and fight there. This, Luza said, will help local players get exposure and gain the much needed experience.