brand new heavies

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

A new boxing concept aimed at reviving the almost dead heavyweight division locally has been drummed up by Loyiso Mtya.

Boxing SA's director of operations calls the programme the "Heavyweight Contender" and he says it will take South Africa by storm only if given the needed support.

"It will be televised live on Blow by Blow," he said. "It will feature 20 selected heavyweight fighters who will contest in an elimination basis. There will be prizes and incentives for being part of the programme as well as progressing through to the other stages of this programme.

"The final winner will receive a prize that will be known to the public in a few weeks to come".

There are no real contenders in the local heavyweight division. It has only six fighters, namely Pieter Cronjé, Jake Els, Danie Venter, Wiseman Dlomo, Miyan Solomons and Tyron Churchill.

Cronjé, Els, Venter, Dlomo and Solomons have failed in their bids to oust Osborne "Maximus" Machimana, who has been at the helm since 2005.

Mtya, a former SA non-white junior middleweight champion, adds that in the good old days, the heavyweight division was the king of boxing.

"It was one by which all of boxing standards were measured. The fights were exciting and without having to look outside our shores, appetites were always filled with the likes of Gerrie Coetzee, Kallie Knoetze, Pierre Coetzee, Johnny du Plooy, James Mathatho and the late Mike Schutte.

"They brought value to the game. They were the biggest and hardest punching human beings. Something dramatic inside the ring was always expected but sadly those days are gone.

"Seventeen boxers clicked the scale at the heavyweight limit when they turned professional at the beginning of this year. Our expectations are rekindled. We could possibly turn back the clock," he said.

He called on all boxing promoters and the corporate world to assist in the resurrection of this gigantic weight division.

Mtya said promoters must provide an appropriate and professionally structured marketing plan.

He did not rule out the idea of the box-and-dine, which has become popular.

The journey to the revival of the heavyweight division has begun.