Hundreds support junior lightweight world championship

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mafikeng - Hundreds of boxing lovers gathered at the North West University's sports complex on Saturday to watch the junior lightweight world championship.

The historic fight between stalemates Cassius Baloyi and Malcolm Klassen for Baloyi's IBF junior flyweight belt was a nail biter, not least because both were trained in the boxing stable of Nick Durandt.

Klassen took Baloyi's IBF junior lightweight champion with a seventh round technical knockout.

Klassen had already held the title of junior lightweight world champions when he dethroned Gary St Clair in 2006 at Emperors Palace. However, he lost it to Mzonke Fana five months later.

The North West Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, in partnership with Branco Sport Promotions and Jacob Matlala, hosted the event to promote boxing in the province and encourage young boxers to take the sport seriously.

The department injected R1 million in support of the whole boxing tournament.

It was the first time Letlhogonolo Molusi, 23, of Mafikeng attended a boxing match.

"It was good, I enjoyed seeing two professional boxers coming into the capital city of the province. We hope that more matches like this will be held as you can see, people came out in large numbers," he told BuaNews.

Lerato Motlhaping, 27, of Motlhabeng village said she had come with her family and friends to watch the match. "I normally watch boxing on television, but seeing it live is more interesting. I will definitely continue to support this sport if organisers bring more matches in our city," she said.

Lentswe Mereyotlhe, 39, of Letlhakane village also said it was good to see so many people screaming in support of the boxers.

The North West Department of Sports, Arts and Culture Spokesperson, Shirly Montsho appealed to communities around Mafikeng to keep on supporting such major sports events.

"We were impressed by the attendance; it was good and wants to thank all those who came in support of the tournament in general. It will also be a good thing if we are going to see such kind of the support when we organise such fight," she said.

The Baloyo versus Klaasen fight came on the heels of Chris "The Heat" van Heerden's clash with Welcome Ntshingila for the South African welterweight title at Matlosana Local Municipality on 27 March 2009.

Branco Milenkovic and Matlala ploughed back to the communities of North West in Matlosana area by venturing into road shows at different local schools emphasizing benefits of clean living.

Branco also donated boxing equipment valued at around R30 000 to the local boxing clubs in Matlosana.