Return of the Baby Champs

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The third edition of the Baby Champs, the development programme which has revived local boxing by unearthing talent, kicks off on June 2 at Marks Square in Pretoria.

The project started in 2005. It was not well received in some sections of the boxing fraternity, especially among well-established trainers.

Their gripe was that the Baby Champs, which caters mainly for debutants and fighters with less than five fights, will give publicity and prominence to their colleagues who get fights for their charges only when promoters want cannon fodder.

The programme, which caters for all 17 weight divisions, has produced provincial, national and international champions who have either been nominated for or walked away with top awards.

It has produced five provincial champs, one national champ and a WBC International titleholder.

Ludumo Galada went on to win the SA featherweight title and Zukisani Kwayiba is the WBC International mini flyweight champ.

Luyanda Jako is the Gauteng cruiserweight champion and Tsepang Mohale is the province's lightweight king.

Bongile Khethimali, Luyolo Katiya and Vus'Umuzi Tyatyeka are all champs in Western Cape.

The programme also gives a break to small promoters who spread their tournaments throughout the country.

Loyiso Mtya, spokesman for Boxing SA, expects about 100 newcomers from Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga to be at the weight-in on June 1.

He hinted that the number of fighters from different minority groups has increased. Mtya said heavyweight contenders Basil Ray, Bull Murhava and Clint Walters would join the chorus.