BOXING: Witsies box their way to the top at local tournament

THE BEST: (L-R) Nadia Krugera won Best Female Boxer while Siphamandla Mamba walked away with Best Male Boxer on Saturday at the Wits Boxing Tournament. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

THE BEST: (L-R) Nadia Krüger won Best Female Boxer while Siphamandla Mamba walked away with Best Male Boxer title on Saturday at the Wits Boxing Tournament. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Wits Boxing Club boxers walked away with best female and best male boxer titles on Saturday at the Wits Boxing Tournament held on campus.

Siphamandla Mamba was named the best male boxer while Nadia Krüger was the top female. Mamba also took the  Best Bout (fight) title in a tournament that saw Wits hosting Eldos and North West University boxing clubs.

Although Mamba walked away with the coveted titles, he was not overwhelmed by his performance.

“I feel like I could have done better because I wasn’t throwing as many punches as I would have loved to,” said Mamba.

Krüger though was a little more positive. “I’m satisfied with my performance, but improvement is always needed. My opponent fought well and I think we both can learn out of our performances”, said Krüger

Although “surprised” to be given the titles, Mamba’s boxing prowess spoke for itself when he faced Zusiphe Sicwebe from his own club even before he laid his hands on the trophy.

Sicwebe, also known as “Zues”, moved away from Mamba, as soon as the fight began. Sicwebe, who often waited for Mamba to strike first, couldn’t find a rhythm for his jabs and counters.

Mamba drove the action in the first round, but had difficulty in closing the gap to land anything clean. Still, the tough favourite plugged away, hoping to break the barrier that was Sicwebe’s movement and defence.

All it took was one shot from Mamba to change things and that’s exactly what happened early in the second round. In this round both boxers were more energetic and more aggressive.

Mamba tried to trap Sicwebu against the ropes but Sicwebu quickly moved away from Mamba’s follow up left hook to the face. Sicwebu no longer played the defence game, making it more challenging for Mamba to follow through with combination punches.

It didn’t take long for Mamba to regain his rhythm in the third round which saw the pace of the fight losing momentum as both boxers played it clean, but not following through with strong target jabs. Mamba won eventually while Sicwebu walked away with Best Bout award.

Krüger’s head jabs

Krüger’s fight was more aggressive and energetic. Her opponent was Tshepiso Lehutjo who suffered head blows from Krüger’s combination jabs to the head.

Lehutjo tried to be unpredictable by changing her jabs to score points to the stomach, but this made it easier for Krüger who easily threw a left hook that exploded the second it connected with Lehutjo’s jaw.

“I’m very impressed with our boxers, especially since a lot of boxers went into the ring for the first time. It’s very important because the first time is really not about winning or losing but getting rid of that fear of getting into the ring which is scary”, said Wits Boxing coach Njabulo Mahlalela.


Wits boxers pull no punches

Wits University’s boxers left their opponents punch drunk after serving them with a flurry of punches and fancy footwork at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) championships held in December 2011.

The boxers, who did not have a coach for most of last year, won seven gold medals which put them in the number one spot as the tournament’s overall champions.

Bakholise Mabuyane, who was the club’s chairperson in 2011, congratulated everyone. “We worked together as a team and fought hard and smart,” she said.

This year the team plan to compete in the Johannesburg championships and defend their title at the December USSA games. “We hope our win last year motivates people to sign up to the club this year,” said Mabuyane.

The best male boxer of the championship, Khayelihle Maseko, proved the old one-two goes a long away after a crowd stirring win in the light welterweight division. Lightweight and USSA 2011’s best female boxer, Hedda Wolmarans, did not get to show much of her skills after her opponent threw in the towel during the second round.

The other medallists were two times light heavyweight champion Njabulo Mahlaela, three times super heavyweight winner Scott Yarham and middleweight champion for the second time Sipho Mhlambi. The light bantamweight championship medal went to Monwabisi Botha, with Nosipho Mtshali taking the female bantamweight medal.

Former Wits boxing USSA champion, Winston Nxumalo was awarded gold for being the tournament’s best coach. The USSA tournament was held at the Wits Old Mutual Sports Hall in the first week of December.