Amateur boxing in the region has received a much-needed shot in the arm after the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) handed over equipment worth more than R200000 to the Buffalo City Boxing Federation.
Boxing gloves, headguards, protectors punching bags, shorts, vests and a boxing ring and an assortment of boxing training gear were revealed at the Duncan Village Arts Centre on Wednesday by the federation.
The federation’s Thulani Mhlungulwana said they received R250 000 to buy boxing equipment for 25 clubs around the metro from BCM.
“But today we have more clubs than the number we budgeted for, but it does not matter we will share the equipment accordingly.
He said the fact that the federation was not recognised by government made dealing with other matters difficult for them.
“We have many challenges because this federation is a national organisation but is not acknowledged by government.
“For instance when we need to go out, we have to take the money out of our own pockets.
“This structure was formed by ex-professional boxers and they are the only ones responsible for funding.”
He said they wanted kids who took on the sport to look neat and forward to going to gym.
“Thanks to the metro for funding us because they did not slam doors in our faces and they never discriminated against us as a federation, as government only recognises Open Boxing.
“And thank you to the legends who are working with us, because when it’s comes to knocking on doors, they make it easy for us because of their high profiles.
“Next week we will be at Steve Biko Foundation and their representatives are here today to witness what we are doing.”
Former world champion, Welcome Ncita, who is part of the federation was short of words.
“Last year we held over 15 tournaments all over the province in an attempt to uplift those who want to go further in the sport,” said Ncita.
“There are many kids that want to improve their standard of livings through their boxing talents.
“I was born in to a poor family so I know how it feels to want something but there’s no support for you in order to achieve what you want to achieve.”
He said the youth were motivated and now that they have equipment at their disposal, it would do wonders for them.
“Even at schools there’s computer labs and now my kids know a computer more than I do so that tells you that equipment can go a long way.”
“So us bringing this equipment to these kids it means they will be motivated to become world champions, we want to motivate them to work harder and make them see themselves as champions,” he added.
BCM portfolio head of special programmes and sport, councillor Xolani Witbooi said last year the federation approached them for assistance.
“We assisted the federation with R250 000 for them to go and buy the kit they needed for the clubs.
“Some of the equipment has not arrived yet but it’s on the way and they will be distributed accordingly,” he said
“We want to rope in the private sector also like Mercedes-Benz because companies like those used to take us when we were still young for family days to play tournaments at the harbour.”