BOXING has shown growth in the Chris Hani District with more tournaments hosted and four boxing clubs formed in 2016.
Chris Hani Amateur Boxing Organisation’s (CHABO) secretary Mabhuti Mapeyi said locals were starting to show great interest in the sport. “Boxing has grown a lot in our region this year and what was also good to see is the sport going to the rural areas where it has been well received. That has made us to make sure we make boxing in rural areas a priority for next year as we want to make tournaments at those villages.”
The four new clubs are Dancing Shoes Boxing Club from Cofimvaba, Nkwenkwana Boxing Club from Engcobo, Bengu Boxing Club from Lady Frere and Gcina Boxing club from Zingquthu.
He said the number of initiatives hosted this year were a success, including the boxing league which was introduced for eight clubs to help identify boxing talent from a young age and groom boxers wanting to turn professional.
The outdoor boxing tournaments was brought back through a partnership between the Queenstown Boys Boxing Club (QBBC) and Spargs Superspar.
“The outdoor boxing tournament with Spargs was well attended. Spargs did a good marketing for the sport and we will definitely continue with that project next year. It motivated the kids to come to the gym, before that tournament we had 30 boxers but immediately after that we had 48 boxers at our gym which means there are more kids who want to come and join the sport.”
A number of local boxers also excelled at various district and provincial championships.
“ When we look back to the performances of our boxers it has really been a good year. We started with a tournament in Cala and it gave us direction and from that our boys in the district were ready to play. We also went to the provincial trials in East London and some of our boxers made it to the finals.”
He said another highlight for Komani was the number of elite boxing games that were hosted in the area this year including the WBO Africa welterweight fight between veteran Eastern Cape boxer Ali Funeka and Ghanaian Justice Addy at the Thobi Kula Indoor sports centre and a provincial tournament at the Gali Thembani Centre.
“Our boxers came out tops, and some made it the finals and ended up being selected to be a part of the provincial team that went to Durban this year. We also had many females joining the sport this year. In August we had a women’s tournament in Buffalo City where we took 11 female boxers who were there to fight for the first time at a provincial level against other districts. They did not win but they showed that we have a lot of talent.”