Bailie acclaimed as new Brian Mitchell

THE ORIGINAL: Boxing legend Brian Mitchell honed his skills as a fighter in Soweto and other townships to be world champion PHOTO:: VATHISWA RUSELO
THE ORIGINAL: Boxing legend Brian Mitchell honed his skills as a fighter in Soweto and other townships to be world champion PHOTO:: VATHISWA RUSELO

''Mitchell was a warrior. He honed his skills in the dusty streets of Soweto on his way to becoming one of the greatest world champions South Africa has ever produced."

A NEW Brian Mitchell is born!

That is how Siphiwe Sithole, the general secretary of the Soweto Open Boxing Organisation (Sobo), described Matt Bailie, the 14-year-old amateur boxer who is steadily making waves with his fists.

Sithole says Bailie's guts, determination and work ethic were reminiscent of Mitchell in his prime.

''Bailie is [another] Brian Mitchell in the making," Sithole said.

''Mitchell was a warrior. He honed his skills in the dusty streets of Soweto on his way to becoming one of the greatest world champions South Africa has ever produced."

Mitchell never fought against a white SA opponent and squared off against black fighters at Diepkloof Hall in Soweto, Mphatlalatsane in Sebokeng, KwaThema in Springs and Good Hope Centre in Cape Town.

 

''Matt is doing what Mitchell did. Mitchell was advised that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and the best is in Soweto," Sithole said.

''The boxing public in Dube are proud of Matt. After the fight he received all the accolades befitting a champion. Everybody wanted a photo with him."

Bailie's mentor is Takalani ''The Panther" Ndlovu, the former multiple world boxing champion, whose skills are polished by Gert Strydom.

But Bailie fights out of the Mpanza Boxing Club in Orlando under the guidance of amateur trainer Gideon Mpanza because Strydom trains professional fighters.

Bailie emerged victorious from a tough three-rounder against 17-year-old Sibusiso Tshabalala - an equally competent fighter - at the Dube Boyz Club in Soweto at the weekend.

That victory was Bailie's 56th, against four losses.

Mpanza said he expected to see a lot from Bailie.

The youngster is the second white boxer to be guided by a black trainer in Soweto. The first was Martin ''Soweto" Botes, the pocket-sized professional boxer whose awesome skills were polished by Sy Mashinini at Nancefield Hostel in Soweto.

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