Renowned former Ethiopian Boxer Seifu “Tibo” died


Former Ethiopian light heavyweight boxer Seifu Mekonnen “Tibo” died on Monday at the age of 67 from complications from diabetes.
Tibo was diagnosed with diabetes more than 25 years ago and he had been on dialysis treatment since April 2009.
His funeral service was held on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at Kidist Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Los Angeles and the burial service at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Tibo was born on April 11, 1953, in the Aleltu, Shoa providence of Ethiopia but spent his teenage years in Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital
Tibo got into boxing in 1971 while he was a student at Menelik II High School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after he was spotted by Edward Simon, an American teacher at the school.
Following a few exhibition bouts, Tibo was selected to represent Ethiopia at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games where he lost to the European champion on points. A year later, he won a gold medal at the East & Central African Championship, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tibo’s next target was the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. However, there were not enough opponents in his division to train & fight with in the country not to mention the lack of desirable training facilities and well-trained coaches in Ethiopia at that time So, Tibo made a bold decision to move to neighboring Kenya in 1974 and train there for 2 years with the Kenyan Breweries Boxing team. One of the highlights of his stay there was beating highly rated S. Onyango, who at that time was a 4-time Kenyan champion. Tibo fought 16 fights for Breweries and his record was 15 wins and 1 defeat.
Tibo was well prepared for his second Olympics’ participation but unfortunately, Ethiopia together with 27 other African countries, boycotted the Montreal Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to exclude New Zealand, whose rugby team took part in a tour of apartheid-era South Africa. This was indeed a sad moment for Tibo and several other athletes who worked so hard and were looking forward for the Games in Montreal only to see their hopes & dreams squashed by politics.
The sport of boxing gave him the opportunities to represent his country both as a boxer and a trainer; and he was able to travel to so many countries. He also had the opportunity to meet a number of African leaders including Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Idi Amin of Uganda and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.
Tibo was named head coach of the Ethiopian national boxing team and served for two years before he moved to United States in 1979.