By Tomi Pradarics
After chasing a top opponent for over one and a half years, middleweight contender Walter Kautondokwa has finally reached his goal and will step into the ring in a world title fight this coming Saturday in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Namibian fighter, who is rated No. 2 by the WBO, will face No. 1 ranked Demetrius Andrade in a bout for the vacant World Boxing Organization title left behind by Billy Joe Saunders following a positive doping test leading up to a mandatory defense against the American Andrade.
Opportunities like this never come easy for an African fighter. Kautondokwa (17-0, 16 KOs), just like his fellow talented countrymen, has spent his professional years fighting in local shows against lukewarm opposition in his native Namibia.
The 33-year-old Windhoek-based pugilist last fought this past March when he massacred Argentinian Billi Facundo Godoy (36-5, 17 KOs) with a single left hook on the chin in the fifth stanza.
For Kautondokwa, to be aired live on freshly launched DAZN USA on a card put together by one of the biggest promotions in the world, Matchroom Boxing, must be a dream come true, as the unbeaten Namibian’s promoter, Nestor Tobias also pointed out.
“It has been an incredibly worthwhile journey. Being a promoter in Namibia is totally different than in the US or elsewhere. Boxing is an expensive sport and there are no sources of revenue for the huge investment in Namibia, the promoter must pay for everything, invest heavily to build boxers over a long period of time. I would like to thank our sponsor Mobile Telecommunications Namibia (MTC) for all the support and the loyal Namibian fans for keeping us going,” Tobias said to BoxingScene.com before departure to the USA on Saturday, October 13th.
In fact, it was not too far in the past when the Namibian businessman visited the United States to participate in a world title fight for his lightweight protégé, Paulus Moses, who faced then WBO 135-pound ruler Raymundo Beltran on February 16th in Reno, Nevada. That night, Moses gave a tough war to the younger Beltran, who finally got a wider verdict on the scorecards than most observers thought would have been fair.
“Here we are staring another big world title fight in the face barely after 8 months of having done so after that impossible loss [of Paulus Moses] against [Raymundo] Beltran. We appreciate all the pains that come with this journey [with Kautondokwa], and there is no turning back now.”
Tobias, who was trying to secure a matchup for the WBO title against then-champ Saunders for the greater part of 2017 as well as this year, praises this opportunity against Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), however, he is not happy to see what happened to Saunders following his positive doping test.
As BoxingScene.com has reported, Saunders did not only lose his world title status but WBO president Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel also suggested a six-month ban from WBO sanctioned bouts that could be looming for the British fighter.
“It is a sad situation indeed. The last time I checked Saunders was going to appeal and the WBO actually ruled favorably to allow them time to appeal while he could keep his title. The WBO must have had a very good reason why they now changed their mind, but we don’t want to mingle in their business. We wish Team Billy well and we know he can only learn from this experience,” concluded Tobias, who finished his thoughts with a friendly message towards the British troublemaker.
“We wish Saunders all the best and we know that he will bounce back because that is what true champs do.”
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.