Hour of reckoning for 'Big Engine'

Former amateur boxer Thabang Mofula cannot wait to step into the ring to begin his pro career.
Former amateur boxer Thabang Mofula cannot wait to step into the ring to begin his pro career.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Highly decorated amateur boxer Thabang "Big Engine" Mofula just could not stop smiling during an interview about his professional debut next month.

"I am extremely excited that finally I will get to show what I am made of in the professional ranks," said the youngster from Kanana in Orkney, North West. He said he cannot wait to make his way into the ring in one of TK Boxing Promotions bouts in Mahikeng in July.

Mofula, 20, has amateur ranks achievements that include a silver medal in Sanabo 2010 Cadet in Cape Town; a bronze medal in 2014 Sanabo Youth Championship in Pretoria; a gold medal at the 2015 SA Youth Championship in Welkom; a gold medal in 2016 Sanabo Elite Championship in Durban, a silver medal at the 2016 Nelson Mandela International Championships in Port Elizabeth and a gold medal at the 2017 Sanabo International Championships in Springs.

He said he had lost only 17 of his 120 amateur boxing matches. He was trained by Alex Moshodi in North West, but the boxer turned professional under new trainer Bernie Pailman in March.

Mofula has the much-needed arrogance and confidence that elevated many average boxers like Naseem "Prince" Hamed to superstardom.

"I don't care who will be my opponent. I just want to get inside the ring and do my thing," he said. "I started boxing in 2006, but I started collecting medals in 2010.

"My last international fight was in Springs where I represented South Africa against Swaziland in July last year."

He moved to Joburg last month to join Pailman.

Pailman produced his first SA champion in 2004 when Baldwin Tshiakale dethroned Earl Morais as the cruiser-weight champion in Sun City.

He also guided Marcel Japhta and Nkululeko Mhlongo to winning Boxing South Africa's Baby Champs titles.

"Being at such a stable motivates me," said Mofula.

"I will get where I want to, no matter how long it takes. In that way, I would have made my mother (Reverend Modiehi Mofula) proud.

"My father (Makholwa Ningigiza-Gasela) died when I was only two years old. So it has been our mother bringing us (with siblings) up all the way."

Pailman said: "I am excited to have a boxer of his calibre (in my stable) and I am looking forward to guiding him to where (he) wants to be."

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