Lechezhani "Master" Luza,a name that resonates well with local and continental sweetsciece fanatics.A man loved by all yet hated by many of his counterparts.
Master Luza who was recently snubbed at the Debswana Boxing Awards is said to be an einstein,calling shots behind the Botswana Boxing Association(BOBA) curtains through his clubs Tsholofelo/UB Boxing Stable.His club won affliate of the year second year running,a mule told this publication that the club did not deserve the award.
Eitherway,Master Luza takes us down the memory lane,he talks early life,boxing as a boxer,friendships,challenges,accomplishments and more.He is joined by Sportsnation staffer Kabelo Seleka.
K.S Who is Master Luza?
L.L Full names:Lechedzani Master Luza. The teacher, the boxer/coach and family man.
K.S Tell me how you first got involved in with the sport of Boxing?
L.L Tried Karate and played volleyball and was the best while at junior school. Could stand losing because of teammates not being committed and I chose boxing since I also loved being strong like any other boy.
K.S What/who inspired you to join the sport? L.L My late brother; Mbakiso Masole
K.S What have you achieved as a boxer?
L.L A lot. Was 1st Motswana to jointly win a silver with Gable Garenamotse(athletics) at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester (that achievement still stands in boxing, as no one had won gold in the sport to date)
K.S What have you achieved as a coach thus far? L.L Won zone 4 twice with a huge margin, silver & bronze at the African Champs and lately won 2 golds at the 2019 African Games. In 2014 I was the 1st coach to win 2 golds at the AYG.
K.S What is your favourite memory in the ring and sport as a whole?
L.L Many I remember knocking out a boxer from Wales b4 proceeding to win gold against England in the 2003 Commonwealth boxing championships
K.S What challenges did you encounter in your career as a boxer?
L.L Lack of funds to train and compete abroad, poor training facilities here at home. Having to balance studies with boxing but I'm glad I still scored a 2(1) as a BEd Biology student with UB. Coaches were also not the best then(lacked the technical and tactical know how)
K.S What was the goal and strategy back then?
L.L Not even sure, we just trained hard, nothing scientific
K.S What do you think should be done now for boxers to exel better than your time?
L.L Proper basics at junior level then more international exposure. Local coaches need to be empowered fully with basics
K.S What's the best and worst thing to happen during your ring days?
L.L I have already indicated there are many but winning gold at the Commonwealth boxing championships in Malaysia was great. Also qualifying for the 2004 Olympics here at home was fulfilling. When the whole team lost in their opening bouts at Abuja African Games in 2003,it was a serious blow.
K.S If you could change one thing about Botswana Boxing what would it be?
L.L How or which people get into leadership. Also the coaching needs attention especially in regards to how people think that it's just easy to coach at national level.
K.S What do you wish other people knew about boxing?
L.L It's such a beautiful sport that can shape you emotionally and physically as a person. Also that it's less dangerous if you are fit as compared to football, rugby etc
K.S Why are you supporting (female categories)more as opposed to other categories such as heavyweights?
L.L Heavyweights are lazy. Women boxers are very coachable and can do wonders if given the necessary support
K.S Tell me about some of the people you've met while in this business?
L.L Many but France Mabiletsa was a good mentor locally. Khumiso Ikgopoleng was a very good partner to train with as he was as passionate as I am. Other teammates At UB/Tsholofelo boxing stable were also great. I admired the passion of my Cuban coach Ramon Romero Drake as he'd never skip a training session regardless of weather or whatever. Have also made several friends in across the globe.
K.S What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about boxing as a whole?
L.LNeeds very good basics for one to excell, needs a very good eye to pick and nurture talent.
K.S What's your personal philosophy on what should be done about the sport?
L.L Good basics(power, good defence and great endurance)
K.S When your friends/family find out that you are a boxing personality what do they say or ask?
L.L They just laugh and call me the guy who's always travelling and enjoys to see kids/people fight. My kids are very proud of my involvement and want to be like me one day but surprisingly they don't like boxing. My students really get inspired by my involvement in sport.
K.SWhat might be surprised to know about you?
L.L I have great passion for property and dogs. I am also a God fearing person
K.S What would you tell someone who is thinking about boxing?
L.L Must join the sport as early as possible in order to get the best results. It is very safe if you train hard and get fit.
K.S If you weren't what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
L.L I don't know but perhaps I wouldn't be conscious about what I eat and perhaps wouldn't be in good shape.
K.S How would (someone) describe you?
L.L Reserved but very assertive. I am very passionate person in whatever I do and want to achieve the best result.
K.S What do you do when you aren't working? L.L Chill, listen to music with friends and I love reggae & house so much. I also find time to play with my kids.