boys with hurts of men

| April 25, 2013

They are mere schoolboys who have been lurking on the edges of the boxing scene for less than five years. Yet they have already caused a stir and humiliated acclaimed and regular faces in the ring. In the boxing fraternity, Kagiso (19) and Kabelo(18) Bagwasi have become famous for causing unlikely upsets despite continuing to maintain a low profile that has seen them remain unsung heroes known to few sports enthusiasts in the country.

Those in the ring know that the two boys are definitely the next best thing in boxing, although they still remain cool and humble. Boxers like Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Tirafalo Seoko, Alpheus Farmer and Oteng Oteng can bear testimony to Kabelo’s killer punches, while veteran boxers like Thato Batshegi have experienced humiliation at the punches of Kagiso.

A mere mention of the duo, as well as their dexterity inside the ring, sends chills down the spines of grown men, literally pushing them into hiding at the boxing ring corner. Born in Mahalapye, the Bagwasi brothers both competitively penetrated boxing circles in 2010 following unfulfilling attempts at other sports. Although they both took a shot at football, which they were gifted in, an inner voice somehow led them to boxing, which now seems to be a calling they took time to hear.

Kagiso had tried his luck in traditional dance, volleyball and football but a friend’s success in boxing lured him to the ring in 2009. On the other hand, Kabelo envied his brother’s accolades, which he did not get while trying his luck at table tennis. This hunger for silverware led him to the boxing ring where he is now a prince in his own right by dominating the 52kg and now wreaking havoc in the 56kg categories. Speaking to Sun Sports in an interview, the older brother Kagiso said they were both attracted to boxing because of the support and recognition they received when they started there, unlike when they had tried other sports.

The former Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School student says they both enjoy boxing for the discipline it brings about in an individual. Although one would expect the brothers to enjoy a lot of boxing talk at home given their success, Kagiso says they do not talk boxing at all at home, except when need arises for advice ahead of a fight. “Even after our victories we just treat them like any other day because it has become so normal to us,” says a modest Kagiso. His ultimate goal is to compete at the Olympics, and voices within boxing concur that they could be ready for such a challenge sooner than expected if only they are afforded the much needed support in and out of the ring.

Their coach at DTCB, Thebe Setlalekgosi does not stop showering the brothers with praise. Beyond just the skill and talent that they possess, he says their greatest weapon is discipline, which he preaches at the club dominated with youthful fighters. Setlalekgosi told Sports Extra that the Bagwasi brothers owe their success to their strong and grounded upbringing, which has transformed them into well-rounded boxers. He says being in DTCB has also had an influence in shaping their game in that the culture at DTCB is centred on discipline, dedication and determination. “I let them know that I do not train boxers just to make the numbers but to produce national team material.

This is to ensure they know what is expected of them and they live to such expectations,” said Setlalekgosi who is very protective of his boxers. Setlalekgosi states that although the brothers are equally skilled, they possess different qualities that complement their existing God-given talent. He says Kagiso is a smart boxer who reads his opponent’s game and strikes only when it matters by applying the basics at the right time. On the other hand, Kabelo is mostly driven by ambition, focus, and commitment and is a great leader. The young man is a Form 5 student at Naledi Senior Secondary School where he remains an unsung hero who does not even seem interested in letting his school world know what he is capable of. Setlalekgosi says this is reflective of his character of being humble and grounded, a feat that will take him places as with the likes of Oteng.

Category: Sports

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