Awards winners shed tears of joy

Female Boxer of the Year Melissa Miller.
Female Boxer of the Year Melissa Miller.
Image: Gallo Images

Who said tigers don't cry? Boxers are perceived to be men-at-arms but they, too, have their soft spots.

That was the case on Friday night when IBO welterweight champion Thulani "Evolution" Mbenge and Melissa "Honey Bee" Miller were crowned as 2018 BSA male and female boxers of the year winners.

They both tried but were unsuccessful to suppress their emotions. "Eish, I don't know what to say right now," said Mbenge wiping off tears of joy.

The Johannesburg-based Mdantsane fighter added: "I'm out of words. I just don't know how to express my feelings towards this achievement. I am truly honoured by this award. I want to thank all the people from amateurs to where I am today with Sean for their roles in shaping up my career."

Miller, from Eldorado Park, said: "Could you possibly give me some time to wake up because I am dreaming."

Male Boxer of the Year winner Tulani Mbenge and Knockout of the Year Award recipient Zolani Tete at the BSA Awards in Sandton on Friday.
Male Boxer of the Year winner Tulani Mbenge and Knockout of the Year Award recipient Zolani Tete at the BSA Awards in Sandton on Friday.
Image: Gallo Images

The SA bantamweight champion then paid tribute to her humble-mannered trainer Lucky Ramagole who has turned her into an achiever.

WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete's status as the global star is still intact despite pulling out of the World Boxing Super Series due to an injury last month.

His 11-second knockout of Sboniso Gonya in Belfast was duly voted KO of the year. It was the quickest world championship defence in history, eclipsing that of WBO junior featherweight holder Daniel Jiminez who stopped Harald Geier in 17 seconds in 1994.

"I want to thank Sboniso, hoping that this doesn't bring back sad memories to him. We both made history outside South Africa," said the Mdantsane-based boxer who was also presented with a special recognition award together with IBF flyweight holder Moruti Mthalane, Hekkie Budler and promoter Ayanda Matiti.

Promoter Jeff Ellis's 48 years in boxing was finally recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award alongside Les Andreasen (BSA's KZN service provider), Gadys Tsenene (late first female promoter from Port Elizabeth), Themba Zulu (late trainer from Springs) and Mzoli Madyaka (late promoter from Mdantsane).

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