Boxing judge unbeaten at 72

JUDGE: Musandiwa Madzivhandila. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 29/05/2007. © Sowetan.
JUDGE: Musandiwa Madzivhandila. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 29/05/2007. © Sowetan.

Frank Maponya and Elijar Mushiana

She's a boxing judge of note - and she is only 72.

Musandiwa Madzivhandila, a Limpopo pensioner, is still passionate about her sport. At her age, Madzivhandila remains a boxing judge of note.

She recently judged the fight between Jonas Kgasago and Elliot Tokona at Meropa Casino in Polokwane. The vacant SA mini-flyweight title, which Kgasago won on a technical knock-out, in the seventh round, took place on Friday.

Madzivhandila, a retired nurse from Tshakhuma-Muhovhoya village near Thohoyandou, is one of the oldest women to judge a fight accurately and with dedication.

She told Sowetan she was inspired by her husband Mukandangalo Madzivhandila, who was a boxing promoter in Venda. Her involvement in the sport started in 1984.

The couple travelled together to promote and stage fights in Venda, Giyani, Pretoria and Johannesburg.

"While doing a lot of travelling with my husband, I developed an addiction to the sport," she said.

Madzivhandila, the mother of three, said she first became involved as a referee.

"But because of old age, I quit refereeing and started judging in local and provincial fights," she explained.

"One of the highlights of my career was when Boxing South Africa (BSA) included me in the list of first women judges, ring announcers and referees in the 1990s. It was through my dedication to the sport that I was recognised and nominated with other women."

She said she had participated in various workshops and training sessions related to the sport.

"My nursing background also helped because I was not shocked to see boxers bleeding during a fight," she said.

Her advice to women is: "With dedication and commitment you can overcome any obstacle. Never allow your age or gender to determine your fate."

Madzivhandila claims to have mentored the likes of Phillip Ndou, the former WBU junior lightweight champion.

BSA spokesman Loyiso Mtya confirmed Madzivhandila was the oldest female judge on their records.

"Madzivhandila is always spot on in her judgment. She is as sharp as a razor," he said.