Record number of eleven countries earned gold medals in the new edition of the AFBC African Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships which took place in Mozambique capital city in Maputo.
Mozambique team won five gold medals, Algeria and Zambia both earned four gold medals and proved amazing performance in this championship. Among the 24 participating nations, 18 claimed at least one medal in Mozambique’s capital city.
The boxers who were born between 1982 and 2003 were eligible to participate in the AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships. Altogether 155 exciting bouts were held in the five-day long continent championships in Maputo. The number of the boxers at the AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships was 58 women and 121 men.
The competition returned to the boxing map after five years of break and 24 champions have been crowned in the competition. This was the first ever AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships which was hosted by the Mozambique Boxing Federation.
Margret Tembo and Felistars Nkandu are Zambia’s first female African Champions
The Zambians impressed in the recent two years in several international competitions but their women’s team is relatively new in the country. Margret Tembo not only advanced to the final of the minimumweight (48kg) but she dominated her title bout against Algerian Fatiha Mansouri and earned Zambia’s first ever female gold medal. Her teammate, Felistars Nkandu won the gold at the African Zone 4 Boxing Championships in Maputo in April and after five months of break, she returned to Mozambique. The Zambian lightweight (60kg) boxer had a tough but successful mission against Chaymae Rhaddi from Morocco and reached her career highlight. Their male stars such as Patrick Chinyemba and Andrew Chilata increased the number of the Zambian gold medals up to four.
Algeria’s top three women boxers are on the top of Africa
The Algerian women boxers had a fantastic year in 2022 started with their successes at the Strandja Memorial Tournament which was an IBA Golden Series Event. The Algerians claimed two historic medals at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and the country amazed in the Mediterranean Games this Summer. Their three top female boxers all won the titles at the AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships including Roumayssa Boualam and the heroes of Istanbul such as Imane Khelif and Ichrak Chaib. Boualam defeated Rabab Cheddar from Morocco at the light flyweight (50kg) before the outstanding Khelif stopped Botswanian Aratwa Francinah Kasemang. The 21-year-old Chaib moved down two categories to the welterweight (66kg) this year and she was fast enough to beat Cape Verdean Ivanusa Gomes Moreira in a hectic final bout.
Sierra Leone’s first historic winner is Sara Haghighat-Joo
Sierra Leone sent a few boxers to the Commonwealth Games a few weeks ago and their management decided to participate at the AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships in Maputo. Sierra Leone is a developing Western African country but after the AFBC Championships in Maputo the country is on the boxing map. Their boxer Sara Haghighat-Joo switched to Sierra Leone in 2020 and moved back to her most successful category to the bantamweight (54kg) in recent months. The experienced boxer had the strong motivation to take a fantastic and historic gold medal in Maputo, and her full concentration against Algerian Fatma Zohra Abdelkader Hedjala guaranteed the title.
Mozambique’s stars earned gold medals
Mozambique began to develop the women’s part of boxing strategically in 2016 and after a few years of hard work the country claimed historic results at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, Commonwealth Games and AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships. Alcinda Panguane was busy in the previous months but she was fresh to beat young Brigitte Mbabi from DR Congo in the final of the light middleweight (70kg). Her star teammate, the bronze medallist from Istanbul, Rady Adosinda Gramane stopped Algerian Djouher Benan and took the title of the women’s middleweight (75kg). The male boxers from Mozambique earned three gold medals for the very first time despite their No.1, Tiago Osorio Muxanga suffered an early exit in the championship. Yassine Nordine Issufo (48kg), Armando Rugoberto Sigauque (57kg) and Julio Gabriel Albino (86kg) all succeeded on home soil.
Tiisetso Matikinca is South African first continental champion since 2001
The South Africans returned to the international stage of boxing after a few poor years and their boxers competed in all of the important championships in 2022. Ten of the South Africans advanced to the semi-finals of the AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships but only Tiisetso Matikinca joined the title bout in Maputo. The South African bantamweight (54kg) boxer took the lead on the scorecards after three minutes and he enjoyed a massive advantage after the second round. Botswanian George Molwantwa was not able to find the rhythm in this final bout which meant Matikinca is South African first continental champion since 2001 when their Daniel Venter managed to win the light heavyweight.
The participating nations at the AFBC African Elite Boxing Championships
Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, host Mozambique, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.
Original text taken from the official IBA website: https://www.iba.sport/news/afbc-african-mens-womens-boxing-championships-finished-in-maputo/