Promoter pulls of big ringside hits
Although his boxing career fizzled out before it really got going, outside the ring, Bond Ngubula is punching his way to the top, finding success as a local promoter and personal trainer.
The 44-year-old is the mastermind behind some of the biggest boxing events to hit Botswana in recent years, priding himself on putting together well-organised, international standard shows.
When he set-up Bond Boxing Promotions in 2013, the Nshakazhogwe native initially focused on hosting non-title developmental bouts.
“Boxing was very much an amateur sport back then,” explains the fitness fanatic in an exclusive interview this week.
While the sport still has a long way to go before it turns fully pro, strides are being made, with Ngubula’s stable playing a big part in this.
In September 2019, alongside South African promotion powerhouse, Global Boxing Stars, Ngubula’s organisation hosted ‘Rising Stars’, a boxing feast that saw several national titles up for grabs.
Other notable contests under Bond Boxing include the International Junior Welterweight, which attracted fighters from Zimbabwe and Namibia, as well as ‘The Voyage’.
Giving Voice Money no holds-barred access to his relationship with the ring, Ngubula reveals he first laced up his boxing gloves back in 1997.
“Unfortunately I never had a chance to make a name for myself as there were limited opportunities hence I quit even before I began. I studied Bachelor of Arts and majored in Environmental Science and Sociology even though sports was a big part of me,” recalls the passionate pugilist.
“Bond Boxing Promotions experienced a few hiccups when we hosted our maiden professional boxing event. There were no regulators to sanction the event, while we also faced sponsorship issues as insurance companies were not willing to cover boxers. In the end, I was forced to use my own money to ensure the event was a success,” discloses Ngubula, smiling wryly at the memory.
He attributes his determination not to ‘throw in the towel’ to his passion for the sport. It is a love that has been ingrained in him from childhood, when he watched hypnotized as the likes of Mike Tyson lit up his television.
As well as boxing, Ngubula has always taken his health and fitness extremely seriously.
Thus, when he founded his promotion agency, he also established Bond Boxing Gym as part of the company.
“This focuses on white collar boxing, which is a form of boxing workouts tailor-made to suit those who do not want to take boxing as a sport but for health and fitness purposes,” he explains.
Fear of the unknown meant the venture got off to a similarly slow start.
“It was really difficult at the start because most people did not know anything about white collar boxing hence I had to educate people on the importance of keeping fit and healthy.”
Persistence once again paid off. The exceedingly popular gym, based at Notwane Club in Gaborone, now runs eight classes a day.
“I have five employees, with four of us working as full-time instructors and one cleaner. People have been so supportive and are signing up in large numbers,” says the grateful go-getter, whose company recently started producing its own merchandise, including branded fitness wear
While Covid has taken its toll on both aspects of the business, Ngubula is confident good times lie on the horizon and has big plans for his enterprise.
“We would like to host bigger events and expand our footprints in the region and set world standards,” concludes the big-hitting businessman.