One of the best kickboxers to have been nurtured in Zimbabwe is Brighton Tangata who is proving to be the best in the land so far.
However, his dream of becoming the country’s ambassador has been shattered after being informed that they could not represent the country in the All Africa Games set for Maputo next month because the host nation could not provide kickboxing facilities.
But who is Brighton Tangata and how did he rise to stardom?
Born on February 7 1986, Tangata started playing kickboxing in 2003 after meeting Tony Kamangira, who happens to be the president of the Kickboxing Association of Zimbabwe at Ellis Brown swimming pool. Kamangira inspired the young man and his friends to join the sport.
According to Tangata, it was the first time that they heard about kickboxing as they were used to karate only.
Tangata had started training karate at the age of 14 in 2001 while he was still at school.
“My first kickboxing tournament came two years later when we fought at the launch of the Kickboxing Association in Zimbabwe in 2005 at Ellis Brown swimming pool. I won the gold medal beating other local fighters,” Tangata said.
From that time, Tangata gained confidence to start fighting in local and regional tournaments, where he did not disappoint.
“I won a number of medals locally, which were mainly gold, but I only managed one gold and one bronze medal from regional tournaments that I fought in South Africa as from 2005, to 2007,” he added.
His major breakthrough came in 2007 when he was selected to represent the country in the ninth edition of the All Africa Games that were held in Algeria.
Zimbabwe sent three kickboxers to the event, with Tangata leading the group. Tangata, who is a light weight fighter, was then forced to leave his weight group to fight in the light heavy weight, 66-71 kgs.
“There was nothing I could do as I was the leader of the group. I had to take the bull by its horns. I did not disappoint as I won a bronze medal,” he said.
“After that we got a number of invitations to numerous kick-boxing tournaments but we could not travel because the association has no sponsorship. It will take us time to have professional kickboxers.”
In February, Tangata represented the country in the Brazil World Championships where he also fought in the light heavy weight category and won a bronze medal.
“Only last week I fought Jacko Jusiya of Finland in my first ever professional fight. I had never fought in a professional fight. But from the way things are happening, we hope to see kickboxing turning professional one day. You could admire the guys from Finland because they are professional kickboxers, all they think of is enhancing their profession and nothing else,” Tangata said.
Tangata however, urged the corporate world to sponsor kickboxing.
“At least sponsors must also recognise our efforts,” he said.