Boxing lands blow for gender parity in SA
How appropriate that during Women's Month three prominent women are playing different roles in boxing.
They have been appointed to take full charge of Golden Gloves' upcoming "Razor Sharp" bill at Emperors Palace on August 23.
In recognising the role women play in the sport, BSA, Golden Gloves and the IBO have unanimously appointed Sylvia Mokaila from the North West, Johannesburg-based East Londoner Pumeza Zinakile and celebrated sports broadcaster Carol Tshabalala to the humongous tasks of making sure that the tournament leaves an everlasting memory.
But credit must go to renowned boxing promoter Rodney Berman for taking it upon himself to negotiate with IBO president Edward Levine to give the three women big roles in his tournament.
Berman's tournament will be headlined by an IBO Africa super-middleweight title fight between defending champion Rowan Campbell and Congo's Patrick Mukala, while Roarke Knapp and Mexican Ernesto Olvera will fight for the vacant IBO Youth middleweight title in the main supporting bout.
Mokaila, who has been in boxing for 21 years, is a multiple award-winning ring official. She will be fight supervisor, the first woman in history to do so.
Zinakile has been in boxing for 13 years and was voted BSA 2017 female ring official of the year. She will be the third person in the ring when Campbell and Knapp welcome Mukala and Olvera.
Tshabalala, from Pimville in Soweto, will be the ring announcer. She has done that job with aplomb before but in small shows.
"This is an honour to Sylvia purely because of her ability. Pumeza has built a reputation as being one of South Africa's leading referees. [She is] capable and she rates amongst the best," said Ellis.
"Hats off to Boxing SA and the IBO for recognising these long-deserving female officials."
Mokaila, whose skills were honed by Ken Ramaboa, Stanley Sono and Norman Sekgapane, said: "I really cannot explain how I feel about this appointment. I am so happy, especially with this coming during Women's Month celebrations. It shows that I have made an impact as a woman.
"This is a dream come true for me. I hope this does not only show but also encourages other woman that it is possible to reach your goals everywhere, for as long as you are dedicated, disciplined, love and respect what you do. Your work ethic also guides you. It is also very important to understand the rules and regulations; how and when to apply them."
Layton Gloss and Ricardo Malajika will also feature in a 10-rounder for the Gauteng bantamweight title.
The tournament will be a box-and-dine affair with the usual fight fans screaming their lungs out, replaced by those in gowns and tuxedos.
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