Gauteng 'reclaims' slot as boxing mecca

Province busiest in sport, boasts provincial manager

Joseph Makaringe poses with the WBC International and SA welterweight championship belts.
Joseph Makaringe poses with the WBC International and SA welterweight championship belts.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Gauteng has reclaimed the status of being the hub of boxing action and the place to be for boxers.

This declaration was made on Monday by Boxing SA Gauteng manager Lehlohonolo Ramagole.

“The year is still very young but already I have supervised in two tournaments,” he bragged. “I will be supervising in two more tournaments this week – on Thursday in ESPN Africa’s international tournament in Fourways and on Sunday at Kagiso Memorial Hall where TLB Promotion will also stage an international tournament.”

On Thursday, Phila Mpontshane will defend the SA junior-lightweight title against mandatory challenger Sibusiso Zingange, while SA flyweight female champion Smangele Hadebe will challenge for the vacant ABU belt against Halima Vunjabel from Tanzania.

These fights and five others will be staged by Sifiso Shongwe under Walt Disney Africa. ESPN Africa will broadcast the action from 7pm.

On Sunday, Khensamahosi Makondo will oppose Jacques Muvuud from Congo for the vacant WBF Africa middleweight title, while Khaya Busakwe will put his Gauteng lightweight title on the line against Talent Baloyi. These title fights and six undercard fights will be aired by SABC from 2pm.

Ramagole said his province was the busiest even last year.

“TLB Promotion and Golden Gloves had four tournaments each; [the] Gauteng Boxing Promoters  Association had about three; [and] Cyril Lehong, Janie Hebler and J4Joy Promotion had one each. ESPN Africa has also assured us that there will be action every month until December,” he  said.

He said there are three more tournaments coming up – the TLB Promotion event on March 20, Golden Gloves event on March 26 and ESPN Africa tournament at the end of next month.

Years ago boxers from almost every province headed to Jozi in search of greener pastures. That was during the time when Nick Durandt opened a state-of-the-art fitness gym in Norwood in 2004.

Every celebrity used his establishment where his boxers – many of them champions – made extra money as personal trainers.

The influx of fighters to Johannesburg worked well for the likes of Joseph “Smokin’ Joe” Makaringe, who became the SA welterweight champion. He reigned supreme for six years, with 10 defences, but the glitz and glamour of the City of Gold probably got the better of him because he went back home to Limpopo poor as a church mouse.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.