Female boxer Hadebe destined for greatness

‘Smash’ is on the cusp of Boxing SA glory

Smangele Hadebe exchanges leather with Thema Zuma before being crowned SA champ. File photo.
Smangele Hadebe exchanges leather with Thema Zuma before being crowned SA champ. File photo.
Image: Steven Makwakwa

Smangele “Smash” Hadebe has delivered on expectations of taking women boxing in SA to another level, and if current achievements and consistency are anything to go by, then the ABU flyweight champ looks set for even greater heights.

Noni “She Bee Stingin” Tenge was the pioneer. The first female to win the BSA prospect of the year award in 2011 – Tenge went on to write her name in the books of African boxing history when she won the IBF welterweight title in 2011.

Hadebe was the first to win the BSA prospect of the year award back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

After capturing the South African belt in 2021, Hadebe added to that the fully-fledged ABU belt in March last year.

Winning that belt guarantees the champion recognition from the WBC’s ratings committee, which has rewarded Hadebe with a No 15 ranking.

Hadebe defeated Halima Vunjabel – a former WBC Youth minimumweight champion from Tanzania. Hadebe defended successfully against Vunjabel’s homegirl Stumai Muki on August 25 last year.

That boxing match is among the four that have made it to the final stage in the nomination of 2023 BSA female fight of the year award.

Others are Asanda Simelani vs Thapelo Bhokwe, Hedda Wolmarans vs Ruth Chisale, Sharadene Fortuin vs Ellen Simwaka and Zuma vs Bathabile Ziqubu.

Hadebe’s consistency under difficult circumstances also earned her a nomination for the BSA most-sought-after female fighter of the year award alongside Wolmarans and Bukiwe Nonina.

Those two aforementioned nominations define Hadebe as a progressive fighter who looks destined for greatness. Her manager, the indefatigable Colleen MacAusland, is vying for the manager of the year gong. Other nominees are Colin Nathan, Charrit Mukondeleli and Bheki Mngomezulu.

Nathan won it twice in 2017 and 2018 while MacAusland scooped it in 2019.

Meanwhile MacAusland’s other fighter, Gauteng middleweight champ DonJuan Van Heerden has been nominated for the male prospect of the year award. Nathan’s charge Cayden Truter and Keanu Koopman are also nominees for the male prospect’s award.

Winners in all BSA’s 15 categories will be announced in Durban on June 30.

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