SA teething ring is ready

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

It's show time for aspirant boxers in the third leg of the Baby Champs development programme at KwaXimba Hall in Cato Ridge, near Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday.

This concept, which features debutants and fighters with less than four professional fights, started two years ago.

It has produced prospects who have become provincial, national and international champions.

One such national champion is Ludumo Galada, who defends his South African junior featherweight belt for the first time against Thando Vukuza tonight.

He won it in February against Sydney Maluleka. Tonight's fight, between the two Eastern Cape fighters, will be promoted by Koko Godlo at Mdantsane Indoor Centre.

Galada and Vukuza will meet for the third time in the professional ranks. Galada beat Vukuza in 2005 and also last year in the final of the first edition of the Baby Champs.

This year's third leg will be staged by promoter Mike Dube of the Dube Sports Promotions. It will feature fighters from KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng.

But Dube, the only surviving promoter from the Banana City, is an unhappy man. His gripe is that he would not be directly involved except to organise the venue, accommodation and the ambulance which he said will all be paid for by the KwaZulu-Natal department of sports.

"There are no financial benefits," he said, adding that he agreed to be linked with the tournament because he wanted the boxing fraternity to be aware that he is back in the boxing business.

Dube has been missing in action for almost a year since his licence was revoked by Boxing SA for allegedly bringing boxing into disrepute. He was relicensed in April.

"Even the matchmaking will be done by Boxing SA," he said.

But Boxing SA's public relations officer, Loyiso Mtya, said it would be impossible for promoters to match the 360 fighters in the programme because that entails great expense from phone calls.

He added that the general idea with the Baby Champs was to develop boxers and promoters, and not to make money.

But Mtya said promoters were always encouraged to get sponsors so that they could make some financial gains.