|Langton 'Schoolboy' Tinago|
September 28, 1949
|Known for||Being in the Guiness Book of Records|
|Family||Patrick Pombi (Brother)|
Langton "Schoolboy" Tinago was a prominent Zimbabwean boxer who defied all odds to become the only three-time Commonwealth boxing champion, winning two lightweight crowns and a super-featherweight, earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Tinago died on 17 July 2018 in Gweru.
Langton Tinago was born in 1949 in Gweru. His mother was Ever Pombi, was his biggest fan and never missed a match ever since he became a professional boxer. Tinago’s achievements did not go unnoticed as he was awarded the best boxer of the century by the Zimbabwe Boxing Board of Control, an accolade which, however, did not come with any prize money.
Being in the Guinness Book of Records for good reasons comes with a great achievement and astute acumen in any discipline or trade. Langton “Schoolboy” Tinago, the lion-hearted man, is one of Zimbabwe’s unsung sporting heroes who defied all odds to become the only three-time Commonwealth boxing champion — winning two lightweight crowns and a super-featherweight — earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
At Independence in 1980, Tinago, who was 31 then, won his first Club lightweight title when he beat Nigeria’s Hogan Jimoh in his own backyard in Lagos and went on to win the super-featherweight title in 1983 with a unanimous points victory, halting yet another Nigerian Safiu Oke Badan at the City Sports Centre in Harare. “Gazi”, as Tinago is fondly known in Gweru, went on to beat Australia’s Graeme Brooke in Manchester in 1986 to become the Commonwealth lightweight champion.
“I started boxing in 1967 and back then I was a teenager. In 1987 I defeated Herald Vabrect, who was world’s Number Seven and the following year I beat Nkosana Happyboy in East London, South Africa. “Back then, we were not being recognised internationally and my victories were just mere personal glory,” he said.
Tinago revealed the secret to all his achievements as hard training and determination, a dexterity that contemporary local boxers lack. “When I was still boxing I used to run about 100km. Sometimes I would go to Norton from Harare back and forth running. While I was in Gweru, I used to run up to Shangani, which is about 86km away, and sometimes Lalapanzi.
Tinago ran a boxing academy in Gweru at Mtapa Hall and groomed his son Brilliant “Schoolboy” Tinago who is a former youth games boxing champion. He also trained Commonwealth champion Alfonso Zvenyika since he was a boy before he became a professional boxer.
In April 2018, Tinago was reported to be struggling economically. He was quoted saying:
Right now I feel neglected, wondering where all those people who used to fill up Rufaro Stadium just to watch me fight are when I am struggling like this. The only income I get is my pension from the Gweru City Council and a ‘barbershop’ I rent out.”
Tinago also complained that he wasn't getting any recognition for his work:
“I won three titles at the Commonwealth, that is two lightweight titles and a super-featherweight title. I was unstoppable and I am by far Zimbabwe’s greatest sportsperson, but why don’t I get recognition for everything I did for this country? If I were from Europe or a white person I could still be getting a lot of money and honour. Yet In this country, people are waiting for me to die so that they can come and deliver glowing speeches standing next to my coffin."
His son, is also a boxer, who at some point winning the Youth Games gold medal in 2012. He, however, left the sport and went to South Africa to do other work because boxing wasn't paying enough.
- Munyaradzi Musiiwa, , The Herald, Published: 14 March, 2015, Accessed: 10 August, 2020
- Makomborero Mutimukulu, The emotions of Schoolboy – Boxing legend Tinago feels neglected, The Sunday Mail, Published: 22 April 2018, Retrieved: 22 April 2018
- [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019