By Keith Idec
When Walter Kautondokwa was offered an unforeseen shot to fight Demetrius Andrade late last month, it only took a couple hours to finalize a deal to replace Billy Joe Saunders if Saunders wasn’t granted a boxing license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission.
It has taken boxing fans, media and others longer to learn how to pronounce Kautondokwa’s last name. The unbeaten Namibian middleweight hasn’t taken any offense to the mispronunciation of his surname, but he plans to make the boxing world take notice by upsetting Andrade.
The top-ranked Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), of Providence, Rhode Island, and the second-ranked Kautondokwa are set to fight Saturday night for the vacant WBO middleweight title Saunders relinquished last week in the main event of an 11-bout card at TD Garden in Boston (DAZN).
“My last name is Kautondokwa (pronounced Cow-ton-doe-KWA),” Kautondokwa told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Thursday in Boston. “I know after this fight on Saturday, everybody will know how to pronounce my name. The world will start looking at me. They will know how to say Kautondokwa.”
Beyond pronouncing his last name, it’s also tough to know what to make of Kautondokwa (17-0, 16 KOs). He has knocked out 16 straight opponents since going the distance in his four-round pro debut five years ago.
Though apparently powerful, Kautondokwa has faced a low level of opposition and has boxed outside his native Namibia only once. He won that June 2017 bout in Accra, Ghana, by stopping Ghana’s Obodai Sai (34-3, 26 KOs) in the fifth round.
The 33-year-old contender called out Saunders numerous times before the unbeaten British southpaw lost his title for failing a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test for a banned stimulant. That’s why Kautondokwa didn’t hesitate to take a steep step up in competition against an undefeated, left-handed opponent on short notice.
“I’m very excited to get this opportunity because I’ve been waiting for such an opportunity to come,” said Kautondokwa, a close friend of former IBF/IBO/WBA 140-pound champ Julius Indongo. “I’m very happy to get a chance to fight for a world title. It’s going to be a great thing in all of Africa. In Namibia, it’s going to be good for me to be a world champion because everybody there is excited when they heard I’m going to fight for the world title. Everyone is happy and they’re waiting for me to bring the belt back home.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.