OSHAKATI – Founder and chairperson of the MTC Kilimanjaro Boxing Club Joseph Benhard says he has no immediate interest in the professional side of the boxing business, as his attention has always been and continues to be on developing amateur fighters.
In an extended interview with New Era Sport, Benhard, whose MTC Kilimanjaro Boxing Club hosted the Northern Regions Senior Amateur Boxing Championship at Oshakati over the weekend, said although some of his boxers are yearning to turn professional and make their mark on the international stage, his club’s main focus remains on amateur boxing and nurturing raw talent.
“For instance with the weekend event, it doesn’t necessarily mean if you performed well here and at this level, you automatically qualify to become a professional. We will still have to go back and discuss it and then decide who gets verified to become a professional boxer and who still needs a bit of time before turning professional. Also, while turning professional seems like a great idea for many, it is not an overnight process like it appears. As a promoter and club owner, I will have to talk to the boxers’ parents and discuss all possibilities around a particular boxer turning professional. It’s not just a decision that one can just make here today; it’s a chain and we have to look deep into this,” explained Benhard.
On the possibilities of him seriously expanding his interest into the professional side of boxing like his peers, such as Nestor Tobias of the leading MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing & Fitness Academy and Kiriat Kamanya of the MTC Salute Boxing Academy, Benhard said he will rather continue focusing on the development of amateur boxing and discovering raw talents that need exposure and nurturing.
“I am a coach who does both professional and amateur boxing development, but I have always preferred to stick to developing amateur boxers. I really want to step in and continue helping more of these kids who struggle to get to the required level. If you look at most of our boxers countrywide, most of them are ageing and won’t be around forever; who will replace them? The answer is obvious – it’s these young boxers that we are trying to give the chance to fight to showcase their talents. I believe professional boxing can’t exist without amateur boxing, so that’s why my focus and energy is on amateur boxing.
That’s where my love is,” added Berhard, who represented Namibia at the 1996 Olympics in the USA and also at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada.