free state is king of ring

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Ace Magashule's prediction that the Free State will be the new home of professional boxing is coming true.

Magashule, the MEC for sports, revealed during the finals of the Baby Champs at Thabong Community Hall in Welkom on January 11 that his province had the passion for the game.

His province showed its craving for hosting big boxing events last month by being in charge of Boxing SA's yearly awards and convention. These awards had always been held in Gauteng since their inception in 1976.

That province's promoter, Blacky Seoe, followed up with a historic four international championships a week later. He put Free State on the world map, and his tournament was a huge success.

Now Seoe and Mbali Zantsi will stage a joint Robs and Showtime Boxing Promotions tournament at the army base in Bloemfontein on Friday night.

Their initial plan was to do it in Bethlehem, also in Free State, but Magashule requested that it be shifted to the army base. The intention is to break barriers between the soldiers and the communities they protect.

Entrance is free of charge.

Zantsi's fighter, WBF junior featherweight champion Oscar "Golden Boy" Chauke will top the bill as he bids for a first defence against Argentinian Carlos Santillan, who gave Masibulele Makepula a torrid time in 1994.

But "Hawk" finally devoured him with only a second remaining in the 10th and final round.

Chauke, whose skills are honed by Manny Fernandez and Gert Strydom, won that title last November after blowing Wonga Mhlana away in five rounds. Chauke's fight on Friday will be televised on Blow by Blow at 10pm.

Meanwhile, female fighter Noni Tenge, who made headlines two weeks ago by becoming the first female fighter to share the Prospect of the Year award, will make an appearance in the main supporting fight against an opponent yet to be confirmed.