SA boxing duo at peak fitness for the Olympics

2012-06-30 19:56

Welterweight Siphiwe Lusizi and featherweight Ayabonga Sonjica are razor-sharp and should re-write South African boxing history at the London Olympic Games.

This was the audacious prediction of their coach Andile Mofu, regardless of the historical odds against the South Africans, who both hail from the Eastern Cape.

The last time the duo’s compatriots won a medal in the Olympics was in 1960 in Rome – heavyweight Daniel Bekker snatched silver and featherweight William Meyer seized bronze.

A number of Mzansi’s fighters, including Masibulele “Hawk” Makepula, Phillip “The Time Bomb” Ndou, Khotso Motau and Irvin Buhlalu failed to make the grade 30 years later at the Olympics.

However, Makepula and Ndou, even though they crumbled at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, still became household names in the paid ranks, winning world titles.

Mofu emphasised that his fighters were aware that it will not be easy and as a result have been working on their fitness.

Sonjica stood out in the 4th African Boxing Confederation Cup in Gaborone, Botswana two weeks ago, winning all his five fights on points and proving his qualification was no fluke.

“We were thrilled the fighter went the full distance in all his fights because he got more time to enhance his fitness and correct his flaws,” said Mofu.

The coach added that Lusizi could unfortunately not take part due to ill-health.

However, his mentor stressed the boxer has been inspired by the thought of qualifying for the Olympics and was determined to make his compatriots proud.

Sonjica and Lusizi are currently camping in Pretoria and leave today for a two-week final training camp in Germany.

They will engage in a lot of sparring sessions to “tighten up the loose screws so they will ultimately come out smoking in London.”
Mofu said the pair had been fine-tuned in the boxing academy he formed in the Eastern Cape a few years ago.

“These boys were blessed to get an opportunity to train in Cuba two years ago, learning a lot from the country that has proved to be the best in the world,” said Mofu.

“When the bell goes for their first fights on July 28, they will be at their best and ready to take on the world.”

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