P­lett packing a punch

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Sport - Yo­lan­de S­tan­der

Box­ing is a­li­ve and well in P­let­ten­berg Bay and the coun­try will be a­ble to see the ta­lent in acti­on co­me No­vem­ber t­his y­e­ar with the town’s first pro­fes­si­o­nal fig­ht on ho­me turf in ma­ny y­e­ars.

Tit­led “The Dre­am Fig­ht”, it s­hould be a dre­am co­me true for all Bi­tou box­ing fans – of which the­re are said to be ma­ny – as the ta­len­ted lo­cal boxers last had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to fig­ht in front of a ho­me cro­wd in 2010.

Bi­tou Box­ing As­so­ci­a­ti­on chair Ken­neth Mag­a­ga says the re­a­son t­his is a ra­re occur­ren­ce is be­cau­se hos­ting a pro­fes­si­o­nal fig­ht is a cos­t­ly exe­r­ci­se and the­re­fo­re not e­a­si­ly fun­ded. The mi­ni­mum cost in­vol­ved is a­round R150 000.

The main at­tracti­on at the e­vent – sup­por­ted by P­lett Tou­rism and sche­du­led for No­vem­ber t­his y­e­ar – will be the town’s two pro­fes­si­o­nal fig­h­ters U­na­thi Mnd­wa­ne and C­ho­la­ni N­wa­bi­si­le who ho­pe to chal­len­ge the top fig­h­ters in the pro­vin­ce.

“Box­ing is a big thing in P­lett with very ma­ny fans. So we are look­ing for­ward to la­ter t­his y­e­ar fig­ht in front of them for the first ti­me in a very long ti­me,” Mnd­wa­ne said.

Be­cau­se box­ing is a pas­si­on for Mnd­wa­ne and N­wa­bi­si­le, they plough back their skills and ex­pe­rien­ce in­to the com­mu­ni­ty and ha­ve as­sis­ted in de­ve­lo­ping box­ing a­mong young­sters – to such an ex­tent that se­ver­al boxers will be going to the South A­fri­can Ga­mes and stand a chan­ce of being se­lected for the O­lym­pic te­am.

Box­ing to re­du­ce cri­me

A­bout four y­e­ars ago, lo­cal boxers ca­me to­get­her to start a box­ing de­ve­lop­ment i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve in an at­tempt to re­du­ce cri­me in Bi­tou. “Box­ing te­a­ches you dis­ci­pli­ne and turns fig­h­ters in­to boxers – the­re is a dif­fe­ren­ce. It al­so cre­a­tes ro­le mo­dels; just look at Nel­son Man­de­la, who was an a­vid boxer,” Mnd­wa­ne said.

He furt­her said that the sport al­so cre­a­tes in­co­me – not on­ly for the boxer, but for trai­ners, jud­ges, die­ti­ci­ans and e­ven mo­dels who per­form as ring gi­rls.

And it is the­se ef­forts that are star­ting to pay off. Md­wa­ne and N­wa­bi­si­le both train fi­ve hours a day to keep their skills sharp, but w­hen they are do­ne for the day they con­ti­nue hel­ping the­se young­sters.

“And it is a­ma­zing to see how they ha­ve gro­wn, despi­te their ci­r­cum­stan­ces.”

Lo­cal boxers train with very ba­sic e­quip­ment and no de­di­ca­ted fa­ci­li­ty. They ha­ve on­ly a few pun­ching bags and train w­he­ne­ver the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty hall is not occu­pied. Most of the boxers li­ve in shacks with very litt­le re­sour­ces in­clu­ding pro­per diet ad­vi­ce – re­sour­ces are nee­ded to succeed.

“But we do it all be­cau­se we lo­ve box­ing.” Mnd­wa­ne said they we­re still look­ing for spon­sors for The Dre­am Fig­ht and e­quip­ment for the boxers.

* Mo­re in­fo: P­lett Tou­rism 044 533 4065.

P­ho­to: Yo­lan­de S­tan­der

P­lett boxer U­na­thi Mnd­wa­ne, Bi­tou Box­ing As­so­ci­a­ti­on chair Ken­neth Mag­a­ga and boxer C­ho­la­ni N­wa­bi­si­le are pre­pa­ring for a much-an­ti­ci­pa­ted tou­r­na­ment in P­lett in No­vem­ber.

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