'Honour veteran boxers nationally'

Boxing South Africa C.E.O Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Boxing South Africa C.E.O Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Tsholofelo Lejaka says his biggest hope is to see the boxing community not only being recognised by the sport sector, but also being recognised through national orders.

The CEO of Boxing SA was responding to the question on many people's minds regarding lack of recognition for boxing legends when they are still alive.

"In KwaZulu-Natal last year, Les Andreasen [administrator] was awarded a lifetime achievement. At national level, Thulani Malinga [first WBC champ] was awarded the Steve Tshwete lifetime achievement award," Lejaka retorted.

"It means we need to continue and encourage the boxing fraternity, especially the structures of veterans which we will be working on establishing and assisting, to set up shop through support to make sure they nominate their members for recognition in these programs - provincial and national awards.

"My biggest hope is to see the boxing community, not only recognised by the sport sector, but also recognised through national orders. Orders like Order of Ikhamanga and Order of Mapungubwe."

The list of boxers that achieved greatness includes Gerrie Coetzee (first African to fight for and win a world heavyweight title), Vuyani Bungu (only African champion to defend a world title 13 times), Cassius Baloyi (only six times world champion), Hekkie Budler (first local to win two world titles in one fight) and Simpiwe Vetyeka (first Super champion).

"But the absence of an organised structure through which we are able to service our legends makes all interventions to be haphazard and unsustainable."

There are two existing structures that need to be formalised so that BSA is involved with them - the Gauteng Veteran Association and Ubuntu Boxing Fraternity in East London.

"What this means for BSA going into the financial year of 2020-2025, we need to start with our robust programs of assisting and supporting the establishment of veteran structures in all provinces," said Lejaka.

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