h eroes get just reward



Boxing SA and SABC must be commended for conferring senior citizens, Eric Gabelana, Ezekiel Mtshali, Stanley Sono and Norman Sekgapane their national colours at Carnival City in Brakpan last Friday.

Gabelana, 75, promoted fights in the Border region in the 1950s. He and the late Les Muller spearheaded boxing development in the region.

Nkosana "Happyboy" Mgxaji was produced from their tournaments.

Mtshali, who is also in his 60s, trained and matched fighters. He is part of BRD Promotions which nurtured the talent of Isaac "Angel" Hlatswayo.

Sono, the 72-year-old retired father of boxing, was early this year admitted to the Order of iKamanga by former president Thabo Mbeki.

That award is bestowed on individuals who have excelled in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. Currently Sono serves Boxing SA as a time keeper.

Sekgapane, 61, nicknamed "Pangaman", is the former Transvaal and SA, SA junior welterweight non-white light- weight titlist. He lost to Antonio Cevantes in his bid for the WBA junior welterweight belt on August 26 1978.

Gabelana, Sekgapane and Mtshali received meritorious awards while Sono bagged the chairman's award.

Brian Mitchell, the retired former SA, WBA and IBF junior lightweight holder, shared the lifetime achievement award with multiple award winning promoter Branco Milenkovic. Mitchell will be inducted in the hall of Fame in Canastota, America in June.

Milenkovic's fighter, IBF junior lightweight holder, Cassius Baloyi, won the boxer of 2008 award while William Gare's WBF super middleweight belt defence against Jindrich Velecky was voted fight of 2008.

Sowetan was recognised when yours truly won the print media award while Strydom Sigila won the electronic and Thilivhali Muavha won the radio categories.

Others winners: Prospect: Jared Lovett, Promoter of 2008: Blacky Seoe and Pat Molefe, Trainer: Lennox Mpulampula, Manager: Nick Durandt, Official: Jaap van Niewenhuizen, Special Award: Vusi Malinga, Golden Vest: Thembekile Gacula, Promising Promoter; Isizwe, Promising Official: Tony Nyangiwe.

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