PROMOTER Koko Godlo has embarked on a programme to welcome former inmates, fighters to be precise, back into society.
He is not concerned with making money - which is rare in the sport - but is rather focusing on keeping the fighters busy because he knows that an idle mind is the devil's playground. His KK Promotions, which guides the fruitful career of World Boxing Foundation welterweight champion Noni "She Bee Stingin" Tenge, South Africa's first-ever female world champion, staged a tournament last week at the Mdantsane Indoor Centre.
It featured mainly former inmates from various Eastern Cape prisons. The matching of fighters was done by trainers Luyanda Kana, a former inmate, and Boy Boy Mpulampula, who hones the skills of top fighters.
His charges include the Joyi brothers, Nkosinathi (former SA and International Boxing Organisation mini flyweight holder) and Themba (SA junior bantamweight champ), as well as WBF bantamweight holder Lubabalo Msuthu.
Fans paid R20.
"It was a huge success. My gratitude goes to all parties concerned," Godlo said.
He said his project, which is called Boxing Against Crime, was supported by the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture, Buffalo City municipality, Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme, Gijima Sports and Vukani Security Services.
Godlo said he went over budget but did not mind losing money as long as the former convicts fought and earned something.
The programme has produced South African featherweight champion Sabelo Jubata, Eastern Cape welterweight champion Dumisani Maka, Eastern Cape junior featherweight holder Bonakele Bikitsha and Stanley Gola, who won the Eastern Cape junior welterweight title before he died in December. All of them are former inmates.
Bikitsha won the Eastern Cape junior featherweight belt at KK Promotions' tournament at the Mdantsane Indoor Centre last week with a third-round knockout of Lwandisa Zinto.