'Focus on amateur ranks'

Erstwhile boxers Daniel Ward and Jan Bergman shared the sentiments of trainer Reggie Healey that the way to halt the decline of boxing in former coloured areas was to focus on the amateur ranks .

Most stables, like those of Benny Pailman, Keith Rass and Brendan Hulley, are not seen as the answer because they boast outsiders, they claimed.

Ward, Bergman and Healey all urged trainers to have at least three amateur boxers in their camps.

"That is the feeder to the professional ranks," they said.

Ward and Bergman said young boys were caught up in a life of booze and drugs, with the misconception that they are being "real" men. But Morais said boxing has declined among all the races.

"Youngsters are into education big time, and are career- focused because there are golden opportunities out there for people to better their lives," he said.

Ward, 43, a former South African and Commonwealth flyweight champion from Eldorado Park, would like to train young fighters but says he can't afford to run a boxing gym.

Bergman, 36, a former SA, WBC International and WBU welterweight champion, has, however, not shown any interest in training youngsters. He is working as a boxing commentator.