Great white hopes return to the ring

2011-02-19 19:09

White boxers are now hungry, ­fearless and can take a shot without wincing and cringing.

That runs contrary to the premise once held by influential fight personalities, considering the forthcoming national light heavyweight title fight.

Strange but true, in a virtually ­unheard of combat, Johnny Muller defends the crown against fellow-white Rudolph Venter at ­Emperors Palace on March 1.

This title fight perhaps explodes a myth once entertained by those who made unfavourable comments, about why most whites were ­shunning
boxing.

Legendary Jacob “Baby Jake” ­Matlala stressed that boxing “was a destructive game and whites don’t like getting hurt, and are not as hungry as blacks, and that is why they were outnumbered”.

More than 35 years ago, whites made up about 40% of boxers but the figure ultimately declined to an unbelievable 2% eight years ago.

Currently, the figure has increased to 10%, according to Abram “Khazamula” Khambule of Boxing South ­Africa (BSA).

BSA’s chairperson Dr Peter ­Ngatane said whites could not handle getting hit and successful boxers from all over the world hail from
impoverished homes.

Three-time world champion ­Dingaan “The Rose of Soweto” ­Thobela reiterated that competition was too harsh for whites.

Historian Ron Jackson (74) pointed out: “Young whites, unlike in my day, don’t want to take a shot in the nose because they are soft.”

Ex-world referee and judge Stanley Christodoulou emphasised the point that there “are no longer active amateur boxing programmes at schools, ­universities, police forces and the ­defence forces.

“This has been responsible for lack of whites in boxing. A number of white boxers such as Pierre Coetzer, Bennie Knoetze and others emerged from the police and defence forces.”

Controversial trainer Nick Durandt once caused a stir when he said “white boxers were the laziest and least disciplined” fighters in SA.

Khambule emphasised that they were leaving no stone unturned in making certain that more whites were recruited into the sport by encouraging white youngsters to join ­the boxing fraternity.

The country boasted a number of top white fighters in the past.

They are: Brian Mitchell, Gerrie Coetzee, Corrie Sanders, Arnold Taylor, Vic Toweel, Piet Crous, Phillip Holiday, Harold Volbrecht, Andries Steyn, Gert Steyn, Pierre Coetzer, Sakkie Horn, Freddie Rafferty, Brett Taylor, Martin Botes, Charlie Weir and Charles ­Oosthuizen.

However, even though the percentage has increased from 2% to 10% in about eight years, producer of world champions Mzi Mnguni did not share these news.

Mnguni said: “The biggest challenge we have is increasing clubs in Soweto as they have been decreasing alarmingly, not focusing on increasing the number of whites.

“Right now Dube Boxing Club, which boasted the cream of the country, does not even have a single professional and its death is ­looming.”

Mnguni said that eventually even amateur boxers would completely fade away because they no longer had idols (professionals) to admire.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.