SIEGFRIED ‘Blackie Kaperu’ is widely considered as one of the most technically gifted boxers.
The retired former national flyweight champion has come a long way after years of being battered in the ring as a sparring partner for his older brother Augustinus ‘Quick’ Kaperu to become one of the country’s top boxers.
Born and bred at farm Otjimbojo, Kaperu started boxing seriously after he joined the Namibian Boxing Club in 1990.
“I was 10 years old when I started taking boxing seriously. My two brothers, ‘Quick’ and Joe ‘Killer’ Kaperu, were champion boxers and it was natural that I decided to box,” he says.
The former light-flyweight and flyweight champion says joining his brother ‘Killer’ and Abner ‘Big Daddy’ Xoagub’s boxing club was not a bed of roses as there was constant comparison between him and his older brothers.
He says he considers his two fights against former national flyweight champion Albertus Katiti during his amateur years as the catalysts of his bright boxing future.
“I have fought against the best amateur boxers Namibia and South Africa had to offer during my beginning years. However, facing (Albertus) Katiti who was considered as the Rolls Royce of boxing in Namibia at the time was quite an exciting experience,” says .
Kaperu says the first fight at Independence Stadium in Windhoek was stopped because Katiti’s camp claimed the fight was a mismatch despite their more experienced fighter having been on the receiving end for most part of the fight.
But, claims Kaperu, there was no place to hide away from the then champion Katiti when the two clashed at the Namibian Boxing Championship to determine the national amateur flyweight champion at Oshakati in 1996, with Kaperu coming out tops.
The former Orthodox boxer was also involved in another ringside controversy after he won the national featherweight title against Paulus Kapia in 2007.
His opponent shocked everyone present after he grabbed the belt from Erongo governor Samuel Nuuyoma in the presence of the then deputy minister of youth and sport, Pohamba Shifeta, claiming he won the 10-round fight at Swakopmund.
Kaperu also represented Namibia during two International Boxing Tournaments in Botswana and Swaziland in 1994 and 1995.
He regularly participated in zonal tournaments in South Africa – where he has not lost a single fight as a senior amateur boxer.
Kaperu says the highlight of his boxing career was fighting Stanislav Merdov at the Druzhba Palace in Donetsk, Ukraine, at a World Boxing Organization fight.
“I am confident until this day that I have won that fight. But very strange things happened that day. I was punching very good punches on the night, and even my coach, Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias, was confident I had done enough to win.
“I was supposed to be miles ahead concerning points accumulated because I was landing a lot of clean shots, and I was using my jab very effectively.
“The golden rule of boxing is that you have to knock your opponent out when fighting away from home,” he says.
The retired star made his professional debut in 2001 against South African Walter Marape in 2001 under Tobias, winning his fight on points.
Boasting an impressive professional record of 15 wins and three losses from 18 fights, Kaperu hung up his boxing gloves in 2007 after he lost against a South African opponent in Windhoek, aged 28.
COACHING FOR A LIVING
He is, however, not lost to boxing entirely as he is currently employed by the same MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing and Fitness Academy he boxed for as a professional coach, where he coaches amateur and professional boxers.
Kaperu has overseen boxers like Paulus ‘Hitman’ Moses, Paulus ‘The Rock’ Ambunda and Julius Indongo developing into world champions over the years.
“I have to thank my former mentor (Nestor) Tobias for the trust he showed in me by giving me the opportunity to coach some of Namibia’s crème de la crème. The club is turning amateur boxers into exciting professionals,” he says.
Kaperu has helped Paulus ‘Hitman’ Moses win the WBA lightweight title, Paulus ‘The Rock’ Ambunda became a WBO and IBO bantamweight champion, while he helped Julius Indongo become the unified light-welterweight world champion by holding the WBA, IBF and IBO titles .
The academy currently has three boxers who are all WBO Africa title holders and who will soon be ready to conquer the world in Charles Shinime (welterweight), Jon-Jon Paulus (super-middleweight) and Phillipus ‘Energy’ Nghitumbwa (global super-featherweight ).
Kaperu is on the verge of producing another world beater when he Tobias will accompany their super-flyweight boxer Jeremiah ‘Low Key’ Nakathila to the United States on 20 March for a scheduled fight against Miguel Berchelt on 26 March.
Apart from coaching, Kaperu offers physical training at the club for people who want to sharpen their self-defense skills.
He says he misses fighting – especially when his boxers do not stick to their fighting plan.
“Oh yes, there are times that I am very frustrated with my boxers and I wish I could turn back the clock and go into the ring and show them how things are done,” he says.
He has the following advice for young, aspiring boxers: “The young boxers must make sure they have a good education for life after boxing . .
“I’ve also noticed most African sportsmen and women start doing sport at an advanced age, which is why they only have a short time to shine. They must start at the right time and not wait until it’s too late,” he says.