Turnaround strategy for boxing
THE government is prioritising the revamping of boxing in South Africa to ensure the country continues to produce world champions in the various credible world organisations, including getting the once popular sport back on national television.
This is the promise made by Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, who said they have started the process of turning boxing around by meeting the leadership of both amateur and professional boxing in South Africa.
"Sport and Recreation South Africa has met with both the South African National Amateur Boxing Organisation (Sanabo) and Boxing South Africa (BSA) to devise a turnaround plan for the sport in South Africa.
"Some of the things we are dealing with include strengthening BSA by among other things finance and the direct deployment of personnel at BSA.
"We are also looking at strategies to support the work of Sanabo through strengthening their financial capacity and human capital."
Mbalula said his department was also developing a strategy to promote South African women's boxing to ensure that more fighters come through the development ranks and challenge for world titles.
Currently, Mbalula's department has been giving support to world champion Noni Tenge from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape.
The department is also looking at being involved in her defence of the title because women's boxing lacks financial muscle.
Tenge was presented with a car by Mbalula at the end of last year to enable her to attend training sessions without having to rely on public transport.
"Women's boxing will feature at the Olympics in London for the first time this year. We have three boxers who are in China taking part in the qualifiers for the Olympics. We will make an announcement on the support for women's boxing very soon," said Mbalula.
On the issue of live television coverage for boxing, Mbalula said negotiations were at an advanced stage to get the sport back on the small screen.