Boxing trainers see no logic in return to training now

Trainer Colin Nathan, celebrating here with boxer Azinga Fuzile, says if his boxers can't spar in gym then training is pointless. / MARK ANDREWS
Trainer Colin Nathan, celebrating here with boxer Azinga Fuzile, says if his boxers can't spar in gym then training is pointless. / MARK ANDREWS

There is no logic in allowing professional boxers to resume training when they cannot engage in sparring which is the fundamental part of their training and also cannot fight.

The general feeling from the boxing fraternity is why must boxers risk their lives for nothing? They were reacting to the announcement by Boxing SA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka that sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has given boxers permission to resume training - from August 1.

Trainers Colin Nathan, Bernie Pailman and Pius Dipheko, promoters Elias Tshabalala, Nomfesane Nyatela and Lehlohonolo Ledwaba are totally against the return of boxers to training now.

Said Nathan: "The basis of my coaching is pad work. I don't see the value of going back to training if I cannot do mitts work. I cannot open my facility so I will wait until we are allowed to go full steam in training. Gauteng is now a hotspot for Covid-19, so I am not prepared to take the risk and open my gym."

Pailman said: "I will wait until it's level 1 of the lockdown. For now I am not interested at all and I will not risk my fighters' lives."

Sean Smith added: "You've got to respect this disease and take all the precautions. People you train with might be positive and this disease can spread very fast and it is going to spread rapidly. I don't think it is necessary to spar because there are no fights."

Dipheko said: "It does not make sense for boxers to get back to the gyms considering many health issues such as safe distance. That does not exists in our gyms because they are not big. Boxers must spar and hit the punching bag if you talk about training of boxers.

"Our sport is completely different to others; it is about sweat and that very sweat can be a danger to their lives."

Tshabalala of Fantastic 2 Promotions said: "Why must boxers spend the money they do not have by travelling to gyms when they will not be in action?"

Nomfesane, the CEO of Rumble Africa Promotions, said: "Currently we are faced with many people close to us dying because of Covid 19 and we have reached the peak stage of this deadly disease. Our fighters always come first and that's it."

Ledwaba of TLB Promotions said: "Looking at how the numbers of people, testing positive for this disease I feel we have to keep the sport on hold until everything settles down. I am scared."

Lejaka said the decision to allow for resumption of non-contact boxing training did not come easy.

"Boxing gyms can only start to operate from August 1 provided that they would have complied with the requirements as clearly spelt out by the minister. We therefore plead for maximum discipline and optimum cooperation from our licensees."

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