Plett packing a punch
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.
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.