New boxing gym packs a punch

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pretoria - Maize meal bags used as punch bags will be a thing of the past when a new state-of-the-art boxing gym is opened in Vhembe District, Limpopo today.

The world-class boxing gym, situated in the Malamulele informal settlement, is the first of its kind in the district.

It will boast an area for ticket rooms, two first aid rooms, a hall with a boxing ring and 1200 seats, a boardroom, change rooms, manager's office, ablution block, kitchen and cafeteria. A special space has been allocated for elderly people to train.

Ronald Makhadi, responsible for sports and culture in the Thulamela Local Municipality said the facility would be used to stage major boxing tournaments, but also community gatherings, workshops and conferences.

"We decided to build the boxing gym because of the interest shown by residents in boxing. It is well-placed, as Thulamela is the home of many world-acclaimed boxing champions. We will use this facility to unearth more boxing champions, Makhadi told BuaNews.

Champions such as Phillip "The Time Bomb" Ndou, Joseph "Smoking Joe" Makaringe, Cassius "the Hitman" Baloyi, Muvhuso Nedzanani and Isaac Hlatshwayo hail from the Vhembe District.

Makhadi said the world could expect more boxers of this calibre from the area.

"If we were able to produce these world champions without adequate resources, how many champions are going to be produced once this facility is unveiled," he said.

The national Department of Sports, Arts and Recreation injected R99 000 into the project to buy training gloves, skipping ropes, head gear, training bags and other basic training tools.

The facility is expected to be officially opened by the MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Joyce Mashamba.