Pandemic gives boxing a TKO

By Ron Jackson

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic the boxing year for 2020 in South Africa was one of the worst in its long history with limited tournaments and few South African and world title fights.

Local fighters have been inactive and suffered financially. There were only 14 tournaments held in 2020 and one in 2021 so far.

However, there is some good news for boxing fans with a Golden Gloves Promotion at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Sunday afternoon with six competitive fights headed by the long-awaited clash between South African super middleweight champion Rowan Campbell against the veteran Ryno Liebenburg, who has won numerous titles.

The tournament will be televised live on SuperSport from 3pm.

Last year there were only four South African title fights and only two South African fighters in world title fights, with Kevin Lerena retaining his IBO cruiserweight title and Chris van Heerden losing in a bout for the vacant IBO welterweight title. Both fights were overseas.

On January 2 this year, DeeJay Kriel lost on a tenth-round stoppage against Felix Alvarado in a challenge for the IBF light flyweight title in Dallas, Texas.

We are already into the third month of 2021 with the only tournament held on February 27 in Durban, where Sithembiso Maduna beat Jeffrey Magagane on a ten-round split decision for the vacant SADC featherweight title, Gcina Makhoba stopped Thulane Makhoba in three rounds for the WBF Africa junior bantamweight title and John Bopape beat South African middleweight champion Nkululu Mhlongo on a ten-round split decision in a non-title fight.

Looking at Boxing South Africa’s Ratings Analysis for February it is noted that John Bopape rises to No 2 in the middleweight class after his win over Mhlongo and Maduna comes in at No 3 in the featherweights with a win over Magagane, who drops to No 5 after his loss.

Boxing SA has taken a decision that no fighter will be disadvantaged due to the pandemic, but 30 fighters have been removed from the ratings as they had not renewed their licenses’.

It is rather sad to note that the undermentioned boxers have been inactive for 18 months or more (including October 2019) and could possibly lose their rating when boxing returns to normal sometime in the future.

Luke Sutherland (heavyweight); Ricky Tshabalala (middleweight); Linda Ntshingila (junior middleweight); Siseko Makeleni (junior welterweight); Khanyile Bulana and Lunga Stimela (junior lightweight); Sithembile Luzipho, Zama Zokwe and Toto Helebe (featherweight); Innocent Mantengu (junior featherweight); Michael Daries, Tholumusa Ngema, Mawande Matross and Siphenathi Nobandla (bantamweight); Nkosikhona Spelmandla (junior bantamweight); Luyanda Ntwanambi, Thabang Ramagole, Sinethemba Kotona and Phumelela Cafu (flyweight); Mpumelelo Tshabalala (junior flyweight); and Andile Ndulani, Phumlani Maloni, Loyiso Ngantweni and Sabelo Nkosi (mini flyweight).

Another disturbing factor is that in several divisions there are not enough fighters listed to provide a top ten.

These are heavyweight (2), junior heavyweight (5), light heavyweight (1), super middleweight (3), middleweight (7), junior middleweight (7), welterweight (5), junior welterweight (4), lightweight (6), junior lightweight (7), and junior featherweight (5). –SuperSport


Chasing the Olympic dream

Tadious Manyepo

Harare – Zimbabwe international Sevens (Cheetahs) and 15’s (Sables) star Tadious Dzandiwandira says he has temporarily quit rugby and turned to boxing in the hope of attaining glory at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.

There has been no rugby in Zimbabwe for over a year, and players are training individually.

For Dzandiwandira, the setback has created another avenue: boxing. It is a sport he dabbled in with little joy as schoolboy but with little success.

He was one of two Zimbabweans, together with flyweight Nkomozabo Trade, who represented the Southern African country in a six-nation Olympic qualifier in Tanzania last week.

The other countries at the tournament were Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Dzandiwandira dazzled in the welterweight category all the way to the final where he lost to Adam Hassan of Tanzania.

He now wants to add to the ranking points he won in Tanzania when he participates in an upcoming tournament in DRC.

Dzandiwandira said, “I am a sportsperson at heart and I have big dreams as an athlete. I play for the Zimbabwe national team for both the Sevens and 15s side. But, I have always dreamt of participating in the Olympic Games.

“This is the reason why I have decided to chase that dream in the boxing dream. It’s unfortunate that I lost in the final and failed to get some much needed points.

“I should admit that shedding weight and shaping my body from that of being a rugby player to being a boxer was a punishing exercise. It was tough but the exercise was worth the effort. I will put my head on the block in the upcoming tournament in the DR Congo.

“I am not quitting rugby but I have temporarily shelved the code so that l attain my Olympic dream.”

If Dzandiwandira manages to win at least two fights in the DRC tourney, he could secure a ticket to the Olympic Games.