Sponsors enter the boxing ring

WBO bantamweight champion and BSA 2017 boxer of the year Zolani Tete will be driving a brand new set of wheels this week.
WBO bantamweight champion and BSA 2017 boxer of the year Zolani Tete will be driving a brand new set of wheels this week.
Image: Getty Images / Charles McQuillan

It has taken years for South African professional boxers to get personal deals with the private sector.

Historically, promoters and a few managers have been the ones getting financial assistance from the corporate world. Some promoters have also received huge financial backing from provincial governments.

But, things are finally beginning to look up for boxers although on a small scale.

Mercedes Benz SA will on Wednesday present sensational WBO bantamweight champion and BSA 2017 boxer of the year Zolani "Last Born" Tete with a top-of-the-range AMG C43.

Mercedes's top-of-the range AMG C43
Mercedes's top-of-the range AMG C43

Other boxers who have recently signed endorsement deals include World champions IBO cruiserweight holder Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena, WBF lightweight titlist Xolisani "Nomeva" Ndongeni and IBO welterweight champion Thulani "Evolution" Mbenge.

Lerena is one marketer who has slotted perfectly into a world where social media and branding have become ubiquitous.

The left-hander, trained by Peter Smith, is financed by betting company Supabet, Rex Diff and Gearbox, and Underarm, a clothing manufacturer. Lerena drives the latest BMW 320.

Ndongeni rolls in a silver RAV4 from SA Security Solutions and Technology while Mbenge drives a snow white Toyota Hilux 2.4 bakkie which was bought by Scribante Mining.

Ndongeni and Mbenge - who are homeboys in the Eastern Cape - are based in Joburg under trainer Sean Smith. Peter and Sean are the sons of former SA light heavyweight champion Kosie Smith.

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