Despite Vikapita ‘Beastmaster’ Meroro’s bubbling confidence ahead of his title fight on 22 May in Moscow, Russia, the verdict is still out on whether the boxer can bring an international belt back home.
The Beastmaster takes on the Russian, Dmitry Kudryashov, for a shot at the WBA International Cruiserweight but he faces a man who has not yet tasted defeat, boasting a 17 in 17 win and all ending in a knockout.
Local boxing promoter and trainer of Kinda Promotions, Kinda Nangolo was not in two minds about what he expected from the fight, stating, “In my honest opinion, Meroro will not get that belt. He never fought an internationally recognised boxer of the class of Kudryashov. Who remembers any quality boxer Beastmaster has fought before? If he was fighting a Zimbabwean or Zambian he would stand a good chance, but right now I see no chance.”
He added, “I’m not against him, let that be clear, but his opponent is a quality boxer who is not in the same standard as Meroro. If I was to put my money on Meroro bringing the belt home, I would absolutely not do it, but I’m happy when he brings the money home.”
Joe Kaperu, Secretary-General of the Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF) was slightly less pessimistic about Beastmaster’s chances of bringing an international belt to Namibia, but nevertheless remained cautious. He believed that Meroro stands a good chance to claim victory but that, however, it depends on his preparations.
“Namibians are talented, there’s no question about that, but talent must go with planning. If any boxer wants to win, the training must go with proper sparring. Even if the Vikapita has to get sparring partners from South Africa, it will help because as it stands locally, boxers know each other too well to add anything to his arsenal,” Kaperu said.
He added that his coaches, namely Nestor Tobias of the Sunshine Boxing Academy, would have to start thinking deep for his preparation.
“The conditioning of the body and mind are crucial and his coaches must look at that. It will be a big task for them. When we look at the international level of boxing, we need help from outside. Some ideas of our local coaches, I don’t want to say are no longer relevant, but they must improve. The boy has a strong chance, he’s very strong,” said Kaperu.
On whether Beastmaster fighting away from home soil will pose as any kind of challenge on claiming the belt, Kaperu said, “They will have international judges who have no bias, but the home crowd I’m sure will work psychologically on the boxer, but it should not affect the result. He must impress the judges from the first round. A lot of African boxers go out there and win overseas so that should not deter him.”
Meroro is on an impressive streak, with his last fight, a comfortable win over Amour Mzungu during the Independence Jubilee Boxing Bonanza at Ramatex, being the last of seven wins in a row, having last tasted defeat in 2012.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me, I know this will be very tough as I will be fighting away, but I look forward to this challenge and a win for me will open so many doors for me and importantly add an international title to my name which I never had,” said Meroro.
His trainer and promoter, Nestor Tobias of the Sunshine Boxing Academy told The Villager sport that preparations for the match are going well.
“Boxers are always in the game to keep themselves fit. We are doing the ground work and sharpening him up for a 12-round-fight. Physically, he’s in good condition. He’s going there to win, but you can do your best to plan for a win and end up losing, but Meroro has got a good record,” said Tobias.
Indeed Meroro holds an impressive record, with 28 wins and four defeats, however his opponent Kudryashov boasts a better record with 17 wins out 17 and is the current World Boxing Association (WBA) International Cruiserweight champion and is rated number 6 in the world by the WBA, 12th in International Boxing Federation (IBF) and number 5 by World Boxing Council (WBC).
“We are fighting a very good boxer, we are aware of that. But we are going to use everything that is within our field. Our opponent is undefeated, but Meroro is a more experienced fighter. That will also play in the other guy’s mind,” said Tobias.