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Home / Personality of the week - Eva Iipuleni Josaphat: On being a female boxing judge in a men’s world

Personality of the week - Eva Iipuleni Josaphat: On being a female boxing judge in a men’s world

2021-05-20  Staff Reporter

Personality of the week - Eva Iipuleni Josaphat: On being a female boxing judge in a men’s world
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Date of Birth: 18 January 1989

Place of Birth: Oshakati

Occupation: Facilitator and financial manager at a Trust that I co-own with my partners.

You were recently part of a team of three female judges who facilitated at the MTC Kilimanjaro Boxing Championship.  How would you describe the experience and how long have you been a judge? 

I have been a judge for more than four years now and for those years, I have worked closely with the MTC Kilimanjaro Boxing Club.  The experience has been awesome and I have been surrounded by great mentors such as Joseph Benhard (founder of Kilimanjaro Boxing Club), who has contributed to my growth and love for the sport of boxing. I am still judging at amateur level with a long-term dream of advancing to professional level one day. In short, I am really enjoying the experience.


You are operating in a traditionally male-dominated space, what inspired you to become a boxing judge?

We are now transitioning into an era where women are taking over and following their dreams despite the odds and social setup. My history with sport, particularly boxing, comes a long way, and I have also contributed in other areas such as para-sport through a club called Oshana Heroes’ Sports Club for people with disabilities. I have watched para-athletes such as Johannes Nambala and others grow into formidable competitors, and also had an opportunity to manage a para-cyclist - Johannes ‘Tupac’ Paulus. So, my involvement in all those things gave birth to my love for boxing. We women are here to fill the arena of sport with a motherly touch and it can only grow stronger.

As one of the few female boxing judges, what are some of the challenges you face?

Well, some of the challenges we as female judges face are being undermined and participants always doubt our judgement whenever a fight does not go their way. They shout words such as ‘you are a woman, you do not even know what is a punch!’ But what they do not know is we go through high-level training to become judges and we know what we are doing at all times. The hype of a boxer does not determine a win, but a real punch does!


What do you enjoy most about being a boxing judge?

I am enjoying a sport that I love and secondly, I am enjoying the power that comes under the belt of a judge. We as judges have the final say and our say is always: justice to the two opponents. We have real life humans in the ring and if I judge well then the winner goes home with a great energy of motivation, knowing that they chose the right career. Let me just say, I enjoy doing the right thing at the right time.


Did you undergo any training to become a boxing judge?

Yes I did, MTC Kilimanjaro Boxing Club gave me and others what we call the master training that enabled me to become a great judge that I am today.


What do you think should be done to get more women in judging positions within the local boxing fraternity?

Well, a lot needs to be done at amateur level, especially on the part of incentives. At amateur level, we do not get paid but only receive allowances for the job done. So, for you to be judging is because you are really passionate about boxing, because there is serious money involved for judges at this level [professional]. Also, more inspirational stories about women in local sport should be told so that young girls can be inspired. The few of us who are doing it, should also uphold great reputations for the young ones to look up to.

What would you say are some of your achievements as a boxing judge?

I am currently nominated to be an acting head of judges for the Oshana Region Boxing Federation. I am recognised in my community for taking a bigger step in a male-dominated arena. Also, the New Era Newspaper choosing me to be featured as their Sport Personality of the Week speaks of how my work is impacting the community and country at large. The smaller the achievements, the greater the success. Five years from here, I would be up the ladder, judging at professional level.


What’s your personal take on boxing in Namibia, would you say it has evolved for the better?

Yes, boxing in Namibia has developed gradually and we continue to see many of our boxing champions taking on top world fighters for world title fights; that’s encouraging. Boxing clubs are also now growing at a rapid pace and that means more opportunities for our local boxers. I am sure if we ask one of our boxing legends such as Harry Simon how they trained in the old days or how they struggled to become top fighters in the old days, they will tell you things have gradually changed for the better. Boxing is now even being livestreamed thanks to the assistance of MTC Namibia; everything is now at the tip of our hands. Well, Rome was not built in one day and the same goes for Namibia. The dream is that one day, we will have our champions surviving on boxing as a career and that dream will be achieved.

2021-05-20  Staff Reporter

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