‘Prince’ surrenders his castle

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA

WINDHOEK

Once a boxing prospect of great promise, Namibia’s Prince Immanuel Naidjala is set to announce his retirement from the sport.

It has been exactly two years since the Namibian last fought in a fight which saw him losing to Jason Moloney for the World Boxing Association Oceania bantamweight title. Life for Naidjala has moved on and he has moved to the coast where he works in the drilling department at the Swakopmund Uranium Mine.

At the age of 35, one would imagine that the Prince would have one more shot at rejuvenating what began as a promising boxing career. That is not the case though. The boxer says seeing less action in the past two years, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, got him thinking about hanging up his gloves. “I am turning 36 this year and I just think my time to call it a day from the ring is approaching. “I have been thinking about announcing my retirement soon and I believe that it will happen when I come to Windhoek. “The fact that this virus came and events in Namibia have been hard to come by has also been motivating my thinking,” Naidjala said. Naidjala began his professional career in 2009 with an impressive win and went on to record 16 straight wins in his first professional fights. Many tipped him as a potential world champion following his impressive display under promoter Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias. But Naidjala saw his chance of gaining the prestigious WBO bantamweight world title slip away after losing to Japan’s Tamoki Kameda in December 2013. It was Naidjala’s first defeat in 19 fights and also proved to be his only bid to gain the world title.

Naidjala did redeem his career with two straight wins, gaining the WBO Africa bantamweight title in the process and defending it on one occasion in 2014.

Things went south for the boxer in December 2014 after he lost his title to South Africa’s Gideon Buthelezi at the Windhoek Country Club. As before, the Namibian bounced back with a win to claim the interim WBA Pan African bantamweight title in 2015. The year 2015 proved to be a year of restoration for the boxer as he also went on to claim the WBO inter-continental bantamweight title, and successfully defended it in 2016. The boxer experienced another disappointing loss in 2017 which saw Siboniso Gonya taking his belt at Ramatex on 1 April.

Naidjala lost another fight in December 2017 to Mzuvukile Magwaca before his last fight against Moloney in 2018.

The fighter, who has had an illustrious nine-year professional boxing career of ups and downs, says he has a reputation to protect. “I have no regrets at all because I believe that I did my best during my career and it is always important to end my career with a good reputation and name. “After I officially announce my retirement, I will still be involved in boxing though,” Naidjala said.