The revival of boxing in Cape Town started with an amateur Boxing South Africa (BSA) sparring session tourney at a packed Grassroots Youth Academy in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, at the weekend.
It looked like boxing officials had been hard at work plotting what to do to bring the much loved sport back to its prominence.
Judging by the attendance and enthusiasm displayed, the officials came up with a good idea.
The Saturday showdown was a dream come true for many amateurs who showed off their talent with great zeal in the quest to reach the professional ranks.
With the crowd on their side, the more than 80 boxers never disappointed in showing their potential and boxing skills. Fifty of them have made the grade to professional ranks as of April 1.
Western Cape BSA provincial manager Mzoli Tempi said the sparring session is part of the development programme between the BSA and the provinces. He said each province has its own sparring session. The Western Cape leg started in George on Saturday February 18 where 16 boxers made the grade to the professional rank.
“I am excited for the boxers to be able to get promotion to professional ranks where their life will start. But there are a lot of processes to go through like blood tests and other things. But after they have passed all the tests, they will have to show up. Boxers will have to raise their hands. They will also have to be able to sell themselves to their neighbourhoods. It is about time that boxers play a part in promoting themselves too. We should not leave that to promoters only. They must at least be able to say I can sell 100 tickets to my neighbours and friends. By doing so, they will be doing boxing and their careers a favour,” he said.
Former boxing greats like Mzonke Fana and Derrick Whiteboy took a break from their schedules to attend the session and encouraged the young boxers to love their chosen paths of boxing.
Mandla Ntlanganisso, BSA director of operations, weighed in on the lack of boxing tournaments in Cape Town.
He labelled it as a “shame” not to have tournaments in the metro. He made a call to the promoters to stage as many tournaments as possible in the province.