Boxer of the year a tough call for adjudicators

Zolani Tete during the Zolani Tete Media Open Day at Urban Warrior Boxing Gym on November 07, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Zolani Tete during the Zolani Tete Media Open Day at Urban Warrior Boxing Gym on November 07, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: LEFTY SHIVAMBU

The strong competition for Boxing SA's boxer of the year award will give the adjudication committee sleepless nights trying to choose the winner.

The category for the sought-after accolade comprises high- flying Zolani "Last Born" Tete, sensational Azinga "Golden Boy" Fuzile, the boisterous Thulani "Tulz" Mbenge and the popular Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena.

Nominees in all categories were confirmed at a media briefing in East London yesterday, while the awards ceremony will take place at the Board Walk Casino in Port Elizabeth on February 2.

The event was attended by the likes of Sports Minister Thembelani Nxesi and Eastern Cape MEC for sport Pemmy Majodina.

Said Nxesi: "This is the continuation [of efforts] to recognise sport luminaries. It is a positive way of motivating the young ones because sport teaches you discipline, healthy living and respect."

BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka added: "The competition in all our categories gives an indication of the talent that the country has. I pity the adjudication committee which will decide the ultimate winners in each category."

Tete, Fuzile and Mbenge were excellent in their assignments during the period under review - from October 1 2016 until October 31 2017.

Tete won the WBO bantamweight belt against Arthur Villanueva in the UK in April last year. The Mdantsane-based boxer then produced a stunning 11-second knockout in his first defence against countryman Siboniso Gonya in November.

The history-making knockout will not be in line for the top knockout award because it happened outside the review window period.

Fuzile, last year's top prospect, flummoxed former world champion Tshifhiwa Munyai in three rounds in October.

Fuzile, who is based in Duncan Village, near East London, also won the IBF Continental featherweight belt and retained his SA title.

Mbenge won the SA welterweight crown in April and defended it against Mziwoxolo Ndwayana in September.

Lerena won three bouts, including the fight for the IBO cruiserweight belt against Congolese Youri Kalenga.

Meanwhile, Bukiwe "Anaconda" Nonina, Noni "She Bee Stingin'" Tenge and Mapule "Thunder" Ngubane will compete for the female boxer of the year award.

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