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Drug-free Kuse will face Kalama for vacant ABU straw weight belt

Former addict turns his life around for the better

SA's mini fkyweight champ Siyakholwa Kuse with trainer Makazole Tete.
SA's mini fkyweight champ Siyakholwa Kuse with trainer Makazole Tete.
Image: Supplied

Winning the most difficult fight against drugs and alcohol, which has yielded disastrous consequences on the health of young people, has repaid Siyakholwa Kuse with the honour of headlining an international boxing tournament.

Kuse, 23, from Mdantsane, will top Last Born Promotions (LBP) tournament on Sunday at Thobi Kula Indoor Sports Centre in Komani, Queenstown, in the Eastern Cape, where he will oppose Tanzanian Halid Kalama for the vacant African Boxing Union (ABU) straw weight belt.

Kuse’s manager Mlandeli Tengimfene is repaying Kuse for turning his life around for the better. Tengimfene thanked promoter Xolani Mampunye of LBP for allowing Kuse to headline his international tournament.

“Theodore Roosevelt [the 26th President of the US] famously said the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future,” said Tengimfene, who believes that his charge learnt a lot from his past wayward life, which affected his progress.

“But bouncing back against his demons to win the SA title in July deserves to be applauded. We come from far and it was not easy.

“We want to show other youngsters who are still batting drugs and alcohol that they can also change and live clean lives and refocus in making their dreams a reality, and also motivate Kuse to appreciate his God-given talent and dream bigger.”

It is unclear whether success in the the early stages of some boxers came too soon or expectations from the society weighed too heavy on their shoulders.

Boxing is a lonely sport. Everybody loves the winner but when you fall from grace, you are on your own.

Deposed champions find solace in substance abuse and alcohol and that is happening all over the world.

Former world heavyweight champ Joe “Brown Bomber” Louis – one of the greatest and most influential boxers of all time – died penniless at the age of 61 in 1985.

It was reported Louis’ former opponent Max Schmeling paid for his funeral after the American found himself in more financial trouble because of a drug addiction.

Kuse won the national title in his fourth fight in 2019 and lost it in his first defence to mandatory challenger Bangile Nyangani in 2021. Kuse then went from bad to worse until Tengimfene came to his rescue.

Kuse went through a rigorous processes of cleansing before making a positive come-back, reclaiming his belt from Nyangani in July.

“We have already won two battles – drugs and regained the SA title. Now we are on a mission to improve our No 13 rating by the WBC,” said Tengimfene, whose boxers are trained by Makazole and Zolani Tete.

Kuse and Kalama are evenly-matched. Kuse has five wins, two losses and a draw, while Kalama has a single defeat against six wins. Action from this seven-bout tournament will begin at 2pm. 

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