Limpopo MEC puts her money where her mouth is

Limpopo boxing will have Onicca Moloi to thank if attempts to rebuild the sport's profile in the province succeed.

The Limpopo MEC for Sports‚ Arts and Culture is at the forefront of a drive to rebuild boxing in the province and appreciative Limpopo Promoters Association secretary general Phathutshedzo Dongola applauded Moloi's efforts.

Moloi announced this week that her department would provide financial assistance to provincial promoters to ensure that they are able to stage boxing tournaments in parts of the province where the fistic sport is almost on its knees.

The MEC had been alarmed by the exodus of fighters to Gauteng and Limpopo's poor showing at Boxing SA's annual awards in Durban in January - Eastern Cape dominated the event - was the final straw.

Dongola - a former professional boxer who now trades under the banner of Limpopo Champions Promotions - said Moloi will be remembered as a pioneer for change should her drive succeed.

"What I really like about the MEC is her attitude‚" he said.

"We have been crying for assistance from the government but our cries always fell on deaf ears.

"Finally here is a women showing real motherhood‚ and listening to us.

"I was not even aware that she attended the boxing awards in Durban. I see a bright future coming to our province in boxing."

Boxing is dying a slow death in Limpopo and Moloi is among those who are alarmed by the sport's slide into oblivion.

Dongola says he is equally dismayed by the exodus of boxers from Limpopo to Johannesburg.

"While one cannot blame boxers for leaving for Johannesburg‚ one also worries because that is how our province lost its credibility as a force in the production of champions‚" he said.

"We had many great champions‚ including Cassius Baloyi‚ Joseph Makaringe and Isaac Hlatshwayo who ended up living in Johannesburg and Tshifhiwa Munyai who relocated to the UK.

"Sadly they lost their true identity because they became known as people from Gauteng when they are from Limpopo."

"We are delighted that the MEC has decided to part of this war to stop boxers from leaving the province and go to Gauteng.

"Boxing is part of our culture here.

"It begins with Musangwe (annual fist fight) until guys graduate to amateur boxing where their skills are honed into perfection before they become professional boxers."

Former boxers are also going to be utilised to help teach children about the sport of boxing from an early age.

The first tournament to be bankrolled by Moloi's department will be a "Women Only" tournament at Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Centre and female promoter Modibapadi Kgasago will stage it on August 26.

"There will be many more until the end of the year‚" said Dongola. - SowetanLIVE

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