Cleared of all charges, Jonas aims to go pro

By Michael Uugwanga

THE country’s top amateur boxer Jonas Junias Jonas is hoping to turn professional this year, while looking to add an Olympic medal to his 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal win in Australia.

Jonas also won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland in the lightweight division, a division he plans to fight in once he turns professional. But he is yet to apply for a professional licence with the Namibian Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB).

Jonas, who was disappointed to see the 2020 Olympic Games called off this year due to Covid-19 – the first such postponement in the history of the Olympics – and will have to wait for next year to fulfil his dream of becoming the first Namibian boxer to win an Olympic gold medal, a feat that no local boxer has managed – Including legendary boxer Harry Simon, who despite his success failed to take gold at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.

Jonas had a chance to win a medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil, but his hopes were short-lived after he was arrested and charged for allegedly attempting to sexually assault a housekeeper at the Olympic Village where he was staying. Twenty-two years old at the time, he was released from custody for a few hours to fight in a preliminary round in the lightweight division against French boxer Hassan Amzile, which Jonas lost 3-0.

He was later cleared of the sexual harassment charges. In March the Namibian National Olympic Committee said Jonas had been cleared of the charges after the Brazilian Eight Criminal Chamber of the Court of Justice dismissed allegations that he sexually harassed a female hotel worker in Brazil in 2016.

In an interview with Confidente Sport Desk this week, Jonas said his plan to fight professionally dates back to the time he won silver in Glasgow, although he kept his ambition secret all along.

“Turning professional was something that I always wanted a long time ago with my trainer Mistake Gariseb. I’m obviously going to turn professional this year. I’m [also] going to fight at the Olympic Games, because I’m still eligible to fight there as long I do not have more than eight fights as a professional.

“It has always been my dream to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. I was sad to see the Olympic Games cancelled, however I have accepted it. I always keep myself busy by doing some running, jogging and doing some skipping rope,” said the 26-year-old Jonas who hails from Swakopmund.

He might be one of the world’s best amateur boxers but fighting at professional level could be a different ball game for Jonas who will need to change with his fighting style if he is to have the same success in the ring professionally as he achieved at amateur level.

Once he turns professional, Jonas could become the centre of attention for different boxing stables who will be scrambling for his signature, although in 2016 it was reported that he had signed up with Iron Lady Promotions, which is owned by Anita Tjombe. Before the 2018 Commonwealth Games he trained at the Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy. Prior to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Jonas was training at Namibia Police Force (NamPol) training gym under the watchful eye of Kenneth Mwatara, a highly respected amateur trainer at NamPol.

“The lightweight division might look difficult, but I have to accept the challenge. As a boxer you prepare to win and that is what I will be doing,” said Jonas.

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