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Paulus Ambunda: “I want to rule the world”

Photo © Sheefeni Nikodemus
Photo © Sheefeni Nikodemus

By Anson Wainwright


In early February, Paulus Ambunda became only the third Namibian boxer ever to win a world title, joining Harry Simon and Paulus Moses when he dethroned Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu to win the WBO bantamweight title. Understandably since his crowning moment, his popularity has soared in his homeland. However, Ambunda, known as “The Rock” (who turns 33 in August), has kept his feet on the ground despite previously being a highly decorated amateur, which included an appearance at the 2004 Olympics. He’s maintained his position in the Namibian military services and so far, in a six-year pro career, Ambunda has won national and WBO Africa titles before winning world honours. Currently, he’s 20-0 (10) and ranked seven by The Ring magazine.
 
Anson Wainwright – Firstly, congratulations on your title victory where you outpointed Pungluang Sor Singyu. Could you tell us about that?

Paulus Ambunda - Hello Maxboxing.com. Thanks for your keen interest in interviewing me.It was a very emotional one but I knew I would win the fight as I worked very hard and got a great team and the whole nation behind me. Our plan was to stay inside of him from round three and it worked because he didn’t have a “Plan B.”

AW - Can you tell us a little about the actual fight?
 
PA - We put pressure on him by keeping him on his back foot with a jab and work the body and uppercuts inside. We keep on doing the same thing for the whole fight as he was the same guy for the whole fight. I made a mistake in the last round and he caught me with a punch that nearly changed the fight but because of my fitness, I recovered quickly.

AW - It’s still very early days but when are you looking at fighting next? What is the plan for the rest of the year?

PA - Now I am enjoying myself with family and friends and will be back but I am sure my promoter/ manager has a big plan for me.

AW – Nestor, what can you tell us about your plan for Paulus?
 
Nestor Tobias (Ambunda’s promoter) - Of course, I will keep on doing like before and want Paulus to defend his title within four months but I have to be careful with his first defence.

AW - What has the reception to you winning the title been like in Namibia?

PA - The reception was great and the people are very supportive and everybody recognizes me when I am in public and, yes, I did a lot of interviews.

AW - Who are the key members of your team?
 
PA - My manager/promoter/trainer, Nestor Tobias, is the man behind my success. My assistant coaches are Imms Paulus, Siegfried Kaperu, and Joseph Anhindi. Other boxers in the gym are former WBA world champion Paulus Moses, “Prince” Immanuel Naindjala (WBO Africa champion), Willbeforce Shihepo, Vikapita Meroro (WBO Africa champion) and Sacky Shikukutu (WBO Africa champion).

AW - Could you tell us about your early years growing up in Windhoek?


PA - I grew up at the village in Oshana Region and I went to school in Oshakati. I used to look after my parent’s cattle during my primary school time and, of course, life was very tough for us but we managed to survive for 23 years back where I grew up next to the border of Angola. There was war and I didn’t have freedom to move around. My parents were always harassed by whites and it was just tough to do what you want.

AW - Namibia isn’t known for boxing. How did you become interested in the sport?

PA - As I was a soccer player, I changed my mind after I saw Harry Simon win a world title in 1998. From there, I wanted to be a world champion myself. Namibia had produced two world champions before me and that inspired me to become the third world champion of my country.

AW - I believe you were in the military. Could you tell us about that?

PA - Yes I am still a military man and I love it very much. I have been in the military for seven years now and enjoy being a soldier and will continue to be a soldier for a long time. There is no difference in one to be a world champion and to be a soldier although my colleagues show me more respect.

AW - You were a very good amateur. Could you tell us about your amateur career?

PA - I was a very good amateur boxer and I represented my country during the [Athens] Olympic Games [in 2004] as an amateur. I fought 120 fights as an amateur. I won national titles seven times, Zone Six title five times, African titles two times. At the Olympics, I lost in the quarterfinals. I won over 100 medals and trophies.

AW - What do you think of the bantamweight division and its other champions?

PA - They are good champions but if I keep working hard like I am doing right now, no one will touch me. I will rule the world as long as I am healthy.

AW - What do you like to do away from boxing?

PA - I like to hang among friends and my daughter, swimming, watching movies and sports on sports TV, especially football and training as I just like to be in the gym.

AW - In closing, do you have a message for the bantamweight division?

PA - Tell them that I am inviting them to challenge me as I want to rule the world.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a contributor and ratings panelist for The Ring magazine.
 
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