SA boxing needs better days
There was plenty of activity in SA boxing in 2011; much of it outside of the ring.
Boxing SA was restructured and, under the chairmanship of former sports minister Ngconde Balfour, mandated to put the administration of the sport in order.
SA boxing supporters will be hoping for better days after a disappointing 2011.
At the root of the problems, it was suggested – apart from the chaotic structure of the controlling body itself – were “greedy” promoters who appeared to be fighting against each other.
But the administration was to blame when tournaments organised by Rodney Berman's Golden Gloves and Branco Milenkovic's Branco Sports Promotions were sanctioned to take place on successive nights a matter of about 20 km from each other.
A relatively unknown organisation, Showpony Promotions, emerged to stage probably the most entertaining SA tournament in 2011.
It took place at Montecasino, near Johannesburg, in November when veteran Fransie Botha, 43, was knocked out by Michael Grant in the final round of a bout for the WBF heavyweight title.
Ali Funeka (light-welterweight) and Malcolm Klassen (super-featherweight) also won WBF bouts on the same bill.
East London-based Nkosinathi Joyi was generally acclaimed the best SA boxer, pound for pound.
International boxing rankings remain in a mess, with several organisations nominating their own “world” champions in about 17 divisions.
The result is that most of the “world” champions are nothing of the sort. Ring Magazine’s rankings are now regarded as the most legitimate.
For IBF strawweight champion Joyi to be classified the best in the world by the magazine is indeed a fine achievement.
Apart from Joyi, the only South Africans ranked among the top ten in their divisions by Ring are IBF champions Morati Mthalane (fourth in the flyweight division) and Takalani Ndlovu (fifth in the junior featherweight division) and IBO champion Tommy Oosthuizen (sixth in the super-middleweight division).
Fans who hope to see a South African become a unified champion in 2012 will be looking at Joyi and Oosthuizen, but the two have some way to go.
The disappointment of the year was promising heavyweight Flo Simba. His career was disrupted by knockout defeats against Botha, in the sixth round, and journeyman Danie Venter, in the first round.
Golden Gloves publicist Terry Pettifer was one of the SA boxing personalities who died during 2011.
Former multiple champion Baby Jake Matlala was hospitalised with pneumonia and Golden Gloves later staged a benefit tournament for him, featuring IBO champion Hekkie Budler.
Matlala, 49, made an amazing recovery.
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