Boxing club on a mission to recruit

The Wits Boxing club is fighting to make a comeback following the cancellation of the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in December last year.
The club’s chairperson, Sifiso Malinga, said that the strategy for the club this year is to increase interest in the sport.

PACKING A PUNCH: Wits Boxing Club welomes anyone with an interest in the sport. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

PACKING A PUNCH: Wits Boxing Club welomes anyone with an interest in the sport. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

As a way to recruit newcomers to the club, plans are underway to demonstrate some light technical work on the library lawns once a week.
According to Malinga 35 first years have enrolled. “It has been a very slow start to the year.
“We prefer to start off light, and work our way towards getting everyone to be as fit as their weight classes require, if not beyond that fitness level,” said Malinga.
Through maintaining fitness for beginners and advance boxers, the club is gradually preparing for the 2017 USSA taking place in the middle of the year.
“Showing the general public, not just the Wits Community, that boxing as a sport is not about violence and aggression but rather about strategy, vision, determination and most importantly fun,” said Malinga.
“We have been participating in tournaments around Johannesburg since we are affiliated with Johannesburg Amateur Boxing Association (JABO) and they often invite our boxers to fight in their tournaments throughout the year,” he said.
Malinga told Wits Vuvuzela that the club is not only for people who know boxing but that anyone with interest is welcome.
The club trains from Monday to Thursday, on the first floor of Hall 29.
He added that coaches such as Boetie Lourens will be coming through to teach and train the basic boxing skills.

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Female boxers take over Wits Boxing Club

THOUGHTFUL PUNCH: Lungile Duma, left, strategises ringside.  Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

THOUGHTFUL PUNCH: Lungile Duma, left, strategises ringside. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

DRENCHED in sweat, putting their best fist forward – the girls at the Wits Boxing Club are taking on the ring.

The club has seen a steady increase of female members over the years. Coach Tando Melapi said he has seen membership numbers of women increase dramatically to 200 from only 13 when the club started in 1998.

The majority of girls said they were boxing to up their fitness levels and lose weight. “The injuries are not worth actually competing but it’s a great experience and good way of keeping fit,” said Natalie Zoghby, 3rd year Electrical Engineering.

First year Anele Masikane, however, wants to be a boxing champion. “I want to stand in the ring and be a champ, like my late uncle and Olympic boxer Barrington Mkhize,” Masikane said. She is one of the few girls at the club who love boxing as a sport and want to compete.

Another competitor, International Relations honours student Karabo Smith, said that she was scared of being injured in the beginning. However, she realised that the injuries would only help to make her a better fighter. She said boxing has helped her confidence levels and  now she can also protect herself.

“A conscious decision was made to have both genders do the same kind of training. I don’t train boys or girls, I train boxers,” Melapi said.

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FIST TO FIST: Nodumiso Gwala takes Lungile Duma on during practice. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

The female boxers don’t sit back during training. Vuvuzela watched as Lorraine Ngubane, 3rd year BAccSci, led the post-run exercises and commanded the boxers to keep going no matter how tired they were.

The female boxers do not mind training with members of the opposite sex. They said they joined the club to achieve their own goals and were not there to look pretty for the boys.

The club recently competed in the University Sports South Africa annual boxing championships, and brought home the trophy for winning both the male and female sections of the tournament. Wits Boxing Club has won this competition four times, the only university to have so many wins in the history of the competition.

Hedda Wolmarans, sports woman of the year for 2012, was one of the gold medalists. She also held the title for the South African National Boxing Organisation champ in 2012.

Nodumiso Gwala, 3rd year BA Geography and Sociology, said that Wolmarans was an icon to her. She added that other girls were inspired by seeing the competing girls train. Gwala has been training for two years and competing for one, the end goal being entering the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.