Ngubane scores rare chance for SA women

When one door closes, the other one opens but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one opening for us.

That is the case with Mapule "Thunder" Ngubane, the SA middleweight
female champion whose focus was on Emma Kozin for the Women International Boxing Association belt in Oklahoma City, US.

But Ngubane and her trainer Sam Ndlovu could not agree with the promoter on the purse money, so the fight was cancelled.

The 29-year-old has now been given a chance to rewrite history of local female boxing. That is if she wins the Commonwealth title against Stacey Copeland of the UK for the vacant junior middleweight title at the International Convention Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Friday.

Ngubane is the first local boxing women to fight for a Commonwealth title since women's boxing was sanctioned in South Africa in 2006.

Before the proliferation of world boxing bodies and the days when there were only eight recognised champions in eight weight divisions a British Empire belt was highly respected and considered a stepping stone to a world title.

Due to South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1960, local fighters were no longer able to fight for Commonwealth titles until readmission in 1994.

Ngubane, from Pietermaritzburg, has seven wins, five losses and three draws, while 36-year-old Copeland from Lancashire has only four wins.

"I was beginning to stress really," said Ngubane who flew out to Zimbabwe yesterday morning. Ndlovu said: "We trained hard and I honestly do not think we will lose although boxing is unpredictable."

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