Boxing’s impact extends beyond the ring for many young boxers in Namibia as the sport offers a lifeline and the promise of a brighter future, and Saturday’s ‘Night of Pain’ development boxing tournament was testament to this.
Felesianu ‘Danny Boy’ Albino, a professional Namibian boxer, boxing gym owner and coach, organised The Danny Team (TDT) Boxing Academy’s ‘Night of Pain’.
He says his mission is to empower the youth.
“First of all, the event is about . . . cleaning the street and keeping children healthy. When they spend time in the gym, there’s no time to go to the streets to abuse alcohol and drugs.
“This is also to give them some experience and exposure, because keeping kids in the gym and not letting them fight doesn’t make sense,” he says.
Albino says his club exists through partnerships with private companies.
“In boxing, you need money, you need partners to buy gloves and to set up . . . that’s why I need those partners,” he says.
Albino boasts about 40 youngsters at his club, ranging from ages seven to 17.
He says he has two promising fighters gearing up to represent Namibia at the Olympics.
The evening was not just about Albino’s mission.
Benhard Tjaverua, the owner and coach of Bernardo Boxing Promotion at Walvis Bay, was also present, with his members echoing similar sentiments.
His club, established six years ago, focuses on keeping young boys off the streets and away from drugs and alcohol, he says.
He emphasises education, monitoring school reports and even donating school books and stationery.
Cadilo Fishing is their main sponsor, but Tjaverua is candid about the challenges they face – from the scarcity of boxing gloves to young boxers training on empty stomachs.
“My biggest satisfaction is that the boys are improving every year. When it comes to education, they are outstanding performers,” he says.
Tjaverua says events such as ‘Night of Pain’ are important for young people.
“This is boxing development. Right now in Namibia, only individual clubs like Bernardo Boxing Promotion and guys like Danny Boy are hosting amateur boxing development,” he says.
The tournament itself was sweat, blood and satisfactiom.
With seven junior bouts, two youth bouts, two female bouts, and four senior bouts, it was an evening that showcased the talent, determination and heart of Namibia’s young fighters.
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