Women's boxing gets shot in arm

Zandile Kabini

The future of women's boxing in South Africa looks bright after the formation of a Women in Boxing committee to oversee the implementation of Boxing SA's flagship women's boxing programme.

BSA's female chief operation's officer Cindy Nkomo supports the committee's operational blueprint and is looking forward to enabling it to execute its responsibilities.

The committee, established by the Boxing SA board in January, comprises chairperson Zandile Matilda Kabini, Letlhogonolo Noge-Tungamirai, Noni Tenge, Esther Mashiya and Liz Butler.

Kabini and Noge-Tungamirai are two of the seven members of the board of BSA while Tenge, Matshiya and Butler are professional female boxers.

Said Kabini this week: "The basis of the committee is to provide for marketing mechanisms to promote professional boxing for females.

"It is also to provide for the participation and involvement of women in boxing. The strategic objectives and focus area of the Women in Boxing programme are to level the playing fields for them to get a fair share of opportunities and exposure that is afforded to their male counterparts.

"We want to recruit and preserve as much female participants from all races as possible and also create a conducive environment for the attraction, retention and heightened development of female licensees in boxing."

The committee has established that there are many challenges female boxers face, such as certain weight divisions not having boxers, while other divisions have a champion but no contenders.

"That makes it even more difficult for reigning champions to get fights and enjoy the prestige of being champions," remarked Kabini.

"Adding to this challenge are the exorbitant costs of bringing boxers from abroad, which makes finding competitors even more difficult."

A resolution of the national boxing Indaba that was held in 2013 was that promoters, especially those who get government grants, must include at least two female bouts in their tournaments.

Kabini said female promoters were committed to the cause but sponsors were unwilling to fund female boxing.

In addressing these challenges, she said the committee has developed an action plan. "It's critical to market and promote female licensees through branding and profiling them on different media platforms.

"In line with Africa Month which is May, the plan is to have an all-female tournament that consists of female boxers from [the rest of] Africa.

"We also plan to have two female bouts commemorating Youth Month in June. The promoter that will stage the tournament in June will be requested to include two female bouts."

The other activity is to host a Women in Boxing workshop-seminar as part of training and capacity building.

"The big event is Women's Month [August] where we plan to have women-only tournaments. All licensees must be females," she said.

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