Promoters take jab at amateur ranks

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Reggie Hilmer and Gavin Hope of Future Boxing Promotion, which presents professional boxing tournaments, have taken it upon themselves to shape the future of amateur fighters.

They will stage an amateur boxing tournament at Eldorado Stadium on Saturday.

Hilmer and Hope told Sowetan yesterday that they could not believe their eyes last month when they saw only one amateur fighter representing South Africa in the Olympics in Beijing.

South Africa has for many years been represented by at least 10 amateur fighters at the Games. And they did not just show face but held their own, even though none of them has won gold.

A large number of former Olympians, who turned professional after their appearance on that world stage, are now top professional fighters.

"We felt it is our responsibility as citizens of this country to lend our hand in the amateur ranks and do something for them," said Hilmer.

"It is very important for promoters to have a role in the amateur ranks because failing to do so will signal the end for professional ranks."

Hope added that time is no longer on South Africa's side.

"London 2012 is just around the corner. We cannot waste time by pointing fingers.

"What happened in Beijing is history. The entire boxing fraternity, amateur and professional, must start doing something positive now in order for the country to have quality amateur boxers who will represent us accordingly in London," he said.

The promoters said the tournament is made possible by the department of sport in Gauteng: "Their involvement in this venture is highly appreciated."

The tournament starts at 11am and admission is free.