Boxing belt named after the revered Pangaman
Departed boxing hero Norman "Pangaman" Sekgapane could be smiling in his grave, marking an ancestral blessing to the Bokone Bophirima boxing community.
The North West department of education and sports has come up with a noble gesture to name all the provincial titles after Norman "Pangaman" Sekgapane.
The new belt will be fought for by current North West junior flyweight champion Tiisetso Modisadife against Onke Khanzi on Friday night.
Promoter Tshele Kometsi's TK Boxing Promotions will stage the fight at Rustenburg Civic Centre.
The spokesperson for the department of education and sports MEC, Freddy Sepeng, said the move to rename the provincial belt was to keep the legacy of Sekgapane alive.
Sekgapane was born at Tafelkop in the Koster district, North West, on March 12 1948 and died on April 4 this year aged 70. He was described as one of the best junior welterweights in South Africa.
"Our main aim is to revive boxing in our province, so we urge people from Bokone Bophirima to come in their numbers because that will be the best way for boxing to prosper.
"Boxing also helps eradicate poverty because 80% of active boxers are from disadvantaged communities. Some boxers are fathers to their children, husbands to their wives and have bills to pay," Sepeng said.
"There are those armchair critics who see boxing as being glorified violence. I wonder if the late Nelson Mandela - a man of peace - would have had an interest at heart in the sport if it was brutal."
Mandela - who trained at DOCC Hall in Orlando East, Soweto - dined many boxing champions and was a ringside guest when promoter Rodney Berman staged the last boxing match for pint-sized boxing great Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala at Carnival City in 2002.
Sepeng said: "I am made to believe that no other athletes train as hard as boxers. Basically our aim is to promote healthy living and boxing takes the cake when it comes to clean living and discipline."
Kometsi said: "I want to put North West on the map of provinces that has champions. It must also become one of the provinces in the country that promotes the sport on a regular basis."
*Thabang "Pretty Boy" Ramagole and Sihle "The Sting" Jelwane will do battle over 10 rounds while Ayanda Nkosi and Crispin Moliati from Malawi will also be involved in a 10-rounder.
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