Light at the end of the tunnel for Mpumalanga boxing.

A Mpumalanga businessman, Jacob Mnisi says their initiative of promoting boxing and returning the sport to the screens is continuing without major challenges. Mnisi has just signed a five-year deal with the SABC to broadcast boxing matches live.

Mnisi was in Emalahleni to promote boxing where he met young men who are aspiring to become well-known boxers. Boxing lost its popularity in the country over the years. Lack of financial support is cited as one of the major challenges faced by the sport.

20–year-old boxer, Gift Nkosi is one of the young boxers who wish to see boxing becoming a popular sport again. Gift says giving support to boxing might assist to keep young people away from drug abuse and other bad behaviours, especially in his hometown Emalahleni.

“So, people with talent come and go. They don’t stay because they feel like there’s nothing for them. Boxing is very much active in other provinces except for Mpumalanga. It has been dying for quite so long. So, our manager has been trying to lift us up and he’s been motivating us, helping us to organise fights. We usually have to take the money out of our pockets which is hard, because we all don’t have jobs to pay for all those things and parents don’t have enough money.”

A former boxer, who is now a manager, Lawrence Ngobeni has called on both government and the private sector to give financial support to boxing.

“The challenges that boxers are facing are unlike soccer, because with soccer, you have so many games. But with boxing, you only get paid for participating in a boxing match. And you have to renew your license every year. So, it becomes hard for some boxers to even raise funds to renew their licenses. Even if they renew, there are no guarantees that they will get fights to get their money back. So, they can renew and stay two years without getting a fight. So, some then decide to leave boxing and try something else.”

Mnisi, who is also a former boxer, is in a quest of promoting boxing not only in Mpumalanga but countrywide. He says the recent deal he secured with SABC will play a huge role to promote the sport and to improve the lives of boxers.

“The challenges that we know from the boxers currently is that they are not getting funds. Even if you are a champion you hold a title for 13 months and then it gets taken because you are not defending it because there are no boxing matches that are staged. This is because there are few boxing promoters. We have entered this space so that we can resolve that. J4Joy development and entertainment is going to host every two months world title fights and provincial title fights,” said Mnisi.

They are currently preparing for a boxing tournament that will take place on the 26th of next month at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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