Newspapers across the world last weekend reported about one of the biggest upsets in boxing for the year. This was after a Tanzanian man, they described as “unknown” and “unheralded African” made a shock defeat of celebrated former European welterweight Sam Eggington.
Since Hassan Mwakinyo is one of us, it was only natural for many Tanzanians to celebrate his victory. It feels good when our nation makes headline for the right reason(s). Our brother, Hassan has rightly made Tanzania proud.
The 23-year-old defeated his opponent in a very spectacular way, that made him noted by many boxing experts. Some commentators were categorical that Sam’s defeat was “catastrophic”.
For Tanzanians that may think it was a small win, just note that after the fight Boxrec – a website dedicated to holding records of professional boxers, Mwakinyo climbed 158 places to 16th in the super-welterweight category.
Position 16th in the world! Yes, our brother Hassan did wonders! In our academic life, such a position in classes, which mostly have 50 or more students, is usually counted as good. For Hassan, he is in that number globally in the field of his choice.
To make sure the history made by Hassan is recorded, Sports minister Harrison Mwakyembe, while in Parliament congratulated the boxer, for defeating his opponent only in the second round.
According to the minister, before the defeat, Sam was number 8, in ranking. Hassan win had huge implications because he becomes the 16th out of 1,852 boxers across the world, and more importantly he is the first both in Africa and Tanzania to rise up to such a position.
After the win, some video clips emerged of Hassan training- using makeshift materials like old tyres. No modern gym for training like others, but only very basic home-made gadgets. The man from Tanga, coming from such a background no one could have thought, he would make it that big.
But listening to him, he has his sights set to become a world champion. He wants to fight the best and the greatest in his chosen category for boxing. It is hard not to notice his resilience and determination.
Hassan is sending a message to all of us that, we can attain our dreams, despite the environment not being very friendly. For the student with no textbooks, you can still make it academically by using the available resources in the environment. Just be very keen at class and use your class guiding notes very well. Hassan was practicing with at no gym. He has made it.
Sports are all about practices to make perfect. Even in all other aspects of life, practices makes perfect. The one in high class gym, and the one doing the sessions at home, both can equally make it. It’s the determination and the amount of efforts that counts!
You think challenges and obstacles should hinder your dreams? For Hassan, he told BBC that “hard life” has contributed to his success. For millions of Tanzanians who like Hassan have hard life, they should know that, their efforts can propel them to great exploits. We should, in all what we do, not look at competing just locally, but regionally and globally. Whether its sports, business or education, we can compete with the rest of the nations across the globe.
Let me wish our newest star in town all the best, and hope he gets a fight with Kelly Brook and Amir Khan as he wishes, and defeat them! At the same time, it’s a good reminder that as a country we need to invest more in boxing. We have great Tanzanian boxers of the past, and it seems that, if we take the right direction, this is a sport, which Tanzania can greatly excel.