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The tenacious female boxer, ’Mantoa Ranone

'Mantoa Ranone in action against a New Zealand boxer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold, Coast, Australia

April 2, 2021 4 min read

4 min read

SHE started boxing at primary school and developed into a well-coordinated boxer over the years. Today ’Mantoa Ranone has become one of the best female boxers in Lesotho with an impressive record.

The 24-year-old athlete who made her maiden appearance with the national team at the 2014 International Boxing Association (AIBA) Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria at the age of 17 has a lot to be proud of.

She represented Lesotho in a number of regional and global tournaments, making her mark as a boxer.

Prior to the 2014 Youth Championships in Bulgaria, Team Lesotho camped for a month in the host country with five other nations.

The team worked so hard in training that at the end of the camp the charges were on par with fellow contestants from Africa in terms of physical fitness and dexterity.

Despite an impressive showing, Ranone was knocked out of the competition in the fourth preliminary stage by Adebayo Mutiat of Nigeria.

She is the 2014 Bethlehem Boxing Championship gold medalist.

Ranone is the only female boxer who represented Lesotho at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in the lightweight division (57kg).

She had made the team alongside four male counterparts including Thabo Molefe (52kg), Moroke Mokhotho (56kg), Qhobosheane Mohlerepe (60kg) and Mokhachane Moshoeshoe (69kg).

She lost to New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard within 120 seconds of the opening bell with the referee ending the bout before the end of the first three scheduled rounds after she picked a backbone injury.

Ranone is also the 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and the 2018 national boxing champion in her weight division.

Her outstanding performance at the 2018 Zone IV Regional Tournament in Mozambique saw her make her way to the semi-finals where she lost to a tough Mozambican opponent to collect a bronze medal ahead of the Commonwealth Games later that year.

During that regional competition, the Lesotho boxing team appeared in fifth place after bagging four medals, two bronze, a silver and a gold.  

Lesotho’s efforts were led by Mokhotho who confidently bagged a gold medal in his weight division. Mohlerepe collected silver while Kokole Paneng (75kg) and Ranone received bronze medals.

Born on April 4, 1997, ’Mantoa Ranone is the daughter of the late Tjekola and ’Manoosi Ranone of Qoaling, Maseru. She was bred in Qoaling.  

She began her primary education at Semousu Primary in Lesobeng, Thaba Tseka before she moved to Qoaling Primary where she completed her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in 2010.

She went to Qoaling High School the following year and obtained her Lesotho General Certificate of Secondary Education (LGCSE) in 2016.

She started boxing when she arrived in Maseru as Standard three pupil at Qoaling Primary.

“My first coach Daemane Lengola used to train alone at his home in Qoaling and would sometimes teach village children boxing basics. At the time, I was a footballer and did not take the boxing lessons seriously.

“I only boxed because other children in the neighbourhood were boxing,” she recalls.

She played for the women side of Rollers Stars FC of Semphetenyane under the mentorship of Samuel Mokhothu. She remembers how she would sacrifice her boxing lessons in order to play football until she realised her potential in boxing.

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“That was when I decided to officially quit football and focus on boxing,” she says.

“One day Coach Lengola invited me and his son Phomolo to watch a women’s boxing tournament on a South African television channel and I was impressed to realise that women could still play the sport that well.

“Since then, I have never looked back, I gave the sport my full commitment as well as attention and in the process, I progressed as a boxer.”

When the Qoaling Boxing Club was first established, Ranone became the first and only girl to join the stable.

Other girls soon followed her example and joined the club.

“I told myself that one day I would become one of the best female boxers in the country, hence, I applied all my effort to reach that goal,” she recollects with a proud smile.

She first competed in 2012 at a national competition against Mofalatsi Nkoebe who was already a seasoned boxer while she was only a tyro.  

Today Ranone is one of a few women who are part of the national team. She quickly adds that women boxers are scarce because they deem it as a rough-male dominated sport.

“But I am aware that a lot of women love watching boxing and they actually enjoy it,” she says.

In 2018, Ranone attended the Young Participants Session, a youth programme offered by the Lesotho Olympic Academy under the auspices of the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) and received a participating certificate.  

Her other hobbies include football and weightlifting.

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