The upcoming Gauteng championship has boxers feeling motivated with their eyes set on the gold. 

In preparation for the Gauteng championship taking place on May 26, boxers from different clubs around Johannesburg are perfecting their uppercuts and jabs.  

The Hugenote Boxing Club, where the team practices on Saturday’s, looks like a typical boxing gym, fitted with heavy punching bags hanging from the ceiling, a boxing ring in the centre, and a trophy stand with medals, pictures and certificates.  

Team coach, Duncan Morris used to be an amateur boxer but had to quit boxing for health reasons. After a seven-year hiatus, Morris is now using his boxing knowledge and abilities to train others.  

Training sessions are led by Morris and two other coaches, Boetie Lourens and Jennifer Matibi. Each coach has a specific programme for the day, which they execute throughout the training session. These training programmes include, heavy bag workouts, jumping rope, sit-ups, sparring, sprinter crunches, and a run around the block. 

“I don’t just observe the boxers during training, I train alongside them. This allows me to lead by example and demonstrate the level of commitment required in training,” Morris said.  

The championship will be at the Transnet Engineering Boxing Academy in Pretoria and participants will include boxers from the three Gauteng metropolitan cities namely, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane. 

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, a boxer from the Johannesburg Boxing team Reggie Mogashoa (27) said that he uses techniques like mental training and meditation to help him stay calm and focused during training. 

Morris said that their approach is to also help boxers get mentally/psychologically prepared for the championship by creating a safe space for them to talk about their personal issues. 

“Mental strength is crucial in boxing, and physical strength alone is not enough. Lacking mental toughness can make it challenging for a boxer to perform well in a fight,” Morris said. 

One of the boxers, Hoosein Isaacs, who is a two-time South African boxing champion told Wits Vuvuzela that he wants to do his best in training and become the champion once again “to regain his status.”  

Johan Prinsloo from Transnet Engineering Boxing Academy said that the championship will follow the international boxing rules and “the winner will walk away with a gold medal and will be recognised as a South African champion”.  

The championship’s first round is scheduled between May 26 and May 28, while the second round is scheduled for June.  

FEATURED IMAGE: The Johannesburg boxing team in training mode as they prepare for the Gauteng championship. Photo: Nonkululeko Mncube