Boxing fraternity split on resuming training

Trainer Damien Durandt watches two boxers in a sparring session. He is excited to be returning to training with the necessary precautions in place. / Alon Skuy
Trainer Damien Durandt watches two boxers in a sparring session. He is excited to be returning to training with the necessary precautions in place. / Alon Skuy

Verbal barbs rage on regarding the decision by the sports ministry to allow professional boxers to return to training.

BSA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka announced last week that the date is August 1.

Boxing licencees have been involved in verbal sparring, with some trainers and promoters saying BSA must apply the brakes in opening gyms while a few boxers welcomed the decision by the government.

Promoter Joyce Kungwane and trainer Damien Durandt were disturbed by the comments made by some of their colleagues last week that BSA must halt a return to training.

"We've been complaining that why is boxing left out when decisions are made for other sporting codes to return to training; now that we have been given that opportunity, we turn around and say we are not ready; those comments make us sound confused as the boxing people," said Kungwane, who is head of TLB Promotions. "I understand the concerns from trainers that their boxers will not be able to spar and do pad wok but I thought that sparring and pad work will later be allowed.

"I am prepared to put up a tournament even if it means doing so behind closed doors.

"Boxers are dependent on boxing. I spoke to many boxers who were excited about the announcement of going back to training.

"I propose that if there are promoters who feel that they are not ready to stage tournaments let it not be a blanket decision and those that want to go back and do boxing let it be as long as minister Nathi Mthethwa allows us to do that."

Durandt said: "Maybe it is better we close shop completely, starve to death while waiting for the vaccine to be found next year. The use of public transport happens all over the world. Chances of being infected are always there.

"Going to the shops, driving in your car and stopping at a garage to buy a cup of coffee is in its own putting yourself up for risk. You cannot avoid it completely; it is inevitable."

Durandt said most boxers are personal trainers to survive while waiting for fights. "But that has also not been happening since the lockdown. Are we scared of the coronavirus? The answer is yes, but we've got to live and the only way is to take precautions," said the man whose establishment is home to WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga "Junior" Makabu, WBO Africa junior middleweight holder Emmany "The General" Kalombo and SA and WBC International flyweight champ Jackson 'M3" Chauke.

"I am excited for August 1. We will take necessary precautions," Durandt said.

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