Moulding future boxing champions

2014-04-27 15:00

Seasoned boxing trainer Harold Volbrecht has opened a new gym in Boksburg on Joburg’s East Rand in an attempt to bring back the glory days of the sport.

This area is renowned for having produced some of the best pugilists to come out of Gauteng, including 1952 Olympic bronze medallist Willie Toweel.

But Volbrecht, who guided the late Corrie Sanders to the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight championship, says the gym offers more than just boxing.

He refers to it as a “boxercise” gym.

Weight-loss and self-defence classes are among the services offered at the gym, which is now home to current International Boxing Organisation (IBO) super middleweight champion Tommy Oosthuizen, son of former two-division South African champion Charles Oosthuizen.

The gym, which officially opened its doors two weeks ago, will also offer opportunities to the street kids loitering around Boksburg, says Volbrecht.

“Some of those kids are hungry to make something of their lives. I will give them a boxing platform,” he says.

The 56-year-old Volbrecht, himself a former welterweight world title contender, told City Press he would also rope in amateur boxers. The man nicknamed “Hammer” believes grooming boxers from amateur level guarantees them success in the professional ranks because they get the basics right.

“The problem with young boxers these days is that they rush to turn professional in pursuit of a quick buck. I want to mould them so we can see another generation like Corrie Sanders and Mzukisi Sikali.”

Sikali is the former IBO flyweight titleholder.

Volbrecht, who is a capable boilermaker and handyman, constructed the ring structure himself and also helped out during other parts of the building process.

Despite being involved in boxing for more than 25 years, Volbrecht is not thinking of retiring just yet.

“I will turn the gym into a boxing museum to tell the good story of South African boxing greats the day the body cannot take it any more,” he said.

That will not be a tough task as the walls inside are already plastered with pictures of boxing heroes of the past, sprinkled with some images of the current crop of boxing ring stars.

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