A Komani knockout

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READY FOR VICTORY: Komani boxing fans will be treated to top class boxing on Sunday when the town hosts international and national boxing bouts at the Thobi Kula Indoor Sports Centre. Key figures involved include, from left, Balimo Weliya, former Komani boxer Solomon Manzi, trainer Dudu Bungu and WBO welterweight champion Ali Funeka. The tournament promises to be a knockout Picture: BHONGO JACOB
READY FOR VICTORY: Komani boxing fans will be treated to top class boxing on Sunday when the town hosts international and national boxing bouts at the Thobi Kula Indoor Sports Centre. Key figures involved include, from left, Balimo Weliya, former Komani boxer Solomon Manzi, trainer Dudu Bungu and WBO welterweight champion Ali Funeka. The tournament promises to be a knockout Picture: BHONGO JACOB

KOMANI’s boxing drought is set to come to an end this Sunday when World Boxing Organisation (WBO) welterweight champion Ali Funeka defends his international title against Ghanaian Justice Addy at the Thobi Kula Indoor Sports Centre.
Members of the Chris Hani district boxing fraternity gathered at the Department of Recreation, Sport, Arts and Culture offices in Komani on Monday to discuss the event during a media briefing.
Funeka promised all boxing fans a tournament that they will remember.
“There has been silence on professional boxing in Komani. It is the first time that I will bring boxing to my fans here. I am ready for the fight, I am strong.
“Six rounds are a lot – my opponent will not last until the sixth round,” Funeka said.
He urged local municipalities to help develop the sport in the region and encouraged the young representatives from the Queenstown Boys’ Boxing Club.
“Boxing was nearly dead in Komani and we do not want that to happen.
“There are many boxers who quit because of inactivity and a lack of support.
“Promoters should ensure we get more tournaments in Komani.
“Young people, sport builds you as a person. It will take you out of trouble and you will not have time for drugs because you are always at the gym,” he said.
Funeka has had 46 fights, with 30 knockouts.He has had only five defeats and has one draw under his belt.
He said Komani would give him a home advantage.
“I have family here, my children live here.”
In total, nine bouts are scheduled for the event, with Balimo Weliya set to battle it out with Lee Dyer in a South African super middleweight title fight.
Weliya said he was delighted to be in Komani after his last fight in the town in 2009.
“This is my second title fight in Komani.
“I fought here when I challenged for the Eastern Cape championships and that gave me a chance to fight for the SA championships. I promise people that we will put on a good show.
“They will not be disappointed.”
Xolani Jamani from X-Promotions said the fights were the result of a joint effort between the company and Max Mabuti of Sakhisizwe Boxing Promotions.
“I am from Whittlesea. I started my boxing career there but then left for East London where I became a promoter.
“There has always been an outcry that we do not bring big professional tournaments to Komani and now we have made a promise to revive boxing here.
“This is the first step towards reviving boxing in Komani.
“We are bringing the cream of boxing here this weekend and each year we would like to have at least two or three big tournaments.” Jamani said.
The news was welcomed by Chris Hani Amateur Boxing Organisation secretary Mabhuti Mapeyi.
“This is pure joy for local boxing fans.
“ In 2013 I asked Funeka to be a motivational speaker during a tournament we had for amateur boxers and the boys were inspired.
“We now have six amateur national champions who hail from Chris Hani district,” Mapeyi said.

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