Just when Branton Charles Booysen, from Portland, thought of giving up, his heart gave him many reasons to go all the way and win his debut professional fight in Sunningdale last Friday.
Fighting out of Marshall Boxing Experience, Booysen was matched with hard-hitter, Nkcubeko Jacob, in a junior bantamweight bout, during a Jackie Brice Boxing Promotions rumble in Cape Town, legends of the arena event.
It was four rounds of receiving and delivering punches and the fight could have gone either way, but a strong head, heart and corner gave the professional boxer and musician an upper hand.
Booysen won via a points decision and was cheered by a vibrant crowd that realised his hunger from outside of the square.
“It has been a long time coming. This fight was deeper than just an ordinary boxing match for someone like myself. For every coloured boy, every black boy, coming from the township, from the ghetto, from the slams, it means your dream is valid, everything is possible. At our age, we should never be restricted by our dreams. I am still utterly overwhelmed by the experience. I am grateful to God, without Him I am nothing.”
Booysen said the goal is to stay a good role model to his children and the athletes he works with in his community.
“It was more than just a boxing fight. I had so many people watching me and we have our own boxing club now and young boys looking up to us. So, it is not about me now but what I put forward to the world as I move forward – to set an example. The fight was a chance to showcase that for an ordinary boy from Mitchell’s Plain nothing is impossible. That is what the fight meant for me,” said Booysen.
“Bekkies” as Booysen is nicknamed, said he fought one of the real ones in Jacob, with an exceptional amateur record. He, however, hopes to maintain a winning streak in his professional matches.
Booysen’s trainer, Marlin Marshall, is the son of legendary ring official Eddie Marshall. Their goal for the night was to bring back the win for Portland and Mr Marshall.
“I definitely think it was a hard fight, Jacob kept throwing combinations but Branton had heart; he kept moving forward. We knew Jacob would gas out and we’d take advantage of that but there will definitely be a rematch. What motivated us was that our goal was set on making my dad proud, which we did – that motivated us and gave us that extra boost on winning the fight,” he said.
Marshall said their game plan was to wear Jacob down by beating the body. It worked according to their plan as Booysen managed to drop him twice in the four-round match.
“After losing the first round, I had to remind him why we are doing this; that we have to go 110 percent now but Branton is a guy, he does not like to lose, he will fight until the last. He is a true warrior, he will always put in extra at training, he is just something else. In the gym he is an inspiration to all the others. During the fight, I had to remind him why we are doing this, why we are here today,” he said.
Marshall said the Marshall Boxing Experience (MBE) has four professional fighters who are hungry to showcase their talent at boxing matches across the province.
“MBE is growing. The only problem is we do not have a venue at the moment, professional fighters want to come to a gym, we are struggling to get sponsors for equipment, etc. Branton has also been a big help towords MBE. He is a good person and deserves much more. He is a future champ; no doubt about it,” said Marshall.