Fri Sep 22 15:26:32 CAT 2017

Call to make Gauteng 'home of champs' again

By Bongani Magasela | 2016-11-30 11:42:27.0

A political will to assist is what newly elected Gauteng Promoters Association (GPA) committee requires from Gauteng in its quest to restore the province as the "Home of Champions".

This plea was made yesterday by GPA general secretary Mxolisi Gumede. The man who promotes boxing under Ethembeni Boxing Promotions said: "Our beloved province has not been able to continue with successes; something it did so well some years back when the provincial government was still involved.

"It was the real home of champions. We are hopeful that our leaders will heed our call for their involvement so that we reclaim our status and ultimately use boxing as the tourist attraction."

The Eastern Cape government is doing exactly that. Its gambling and tourism board has been assisting promoters in staging boxing tournaments, and through the financial backing, promoters were able to bring in fighters from as far as Japan.

Gumede said they appreciate the good work done by the likes of promoter Rodney Berman, Andre Thysse, Sonja Fernandes and Gilmey Masters in the province. "But there has to be action all around the province so that the youth is inspired," reasoned Gumede. "Yes, this is all about the country, South Africa, but charity begins at home, so our province has to reclaim its glory first."

The GPA had become moribund due to the five-year blackout of live coverage from television. But the SABC came back in June last year and there has been live action almost every last week of the month.

Gauteng promoters met on Saturday in Boksburg and elected the new committee. It comprises chairman Obed Molekwa of the Soweto Boxing Promotion and his deputy Thysse of Real Steel Promotions. Gumede's deputy is female promoter Khosi Mabuya.

Fernandes, the wife of trainer Manny Fernandes, is the association's treasurer while Sandile Xaka and Moses Lesiba are additional members.