TAKE a young man from a previously disadvantaged background, add his passion to rise above circumstances and to take young people along on the journey, plus the assurance that success comes to a man with determination, and you have Andile Mlenze, founder of The Fire Boxing Club in Jeffreys Bay.Mlenze (36), who was born in Alexandria (Eastern Cape) and went to Soqhayisa Secondary School, initially studied broadcasting at NMU, and other short courses in Port Elizabeth. His sporting talent was spotted at an early age, so that he started training at the Motherwell Boxing Club in 1994; and the Eastern Cape Academy continued preparing him for future championships. He started off as a mini-flyweight.Pure grit, and perseverance carried him along, because funding was problematic. He had 48 fights of which he lost only a few. He turned professional under one Lulamila and was chosen for championship fighting by SANABO. Thus his dream to continue fighting as an amateur to enter the Olympics was frustrated. He fought as a professional without receiving any prize-money, but was otherwise looked after. He wanted to continue his stu-dies, and this desire hampered his progress. Of the seven professional fights he won five.He continued until 2014 and then started his own boxing club for boys and girls, of whom two became champions. The Fire Boxing Club was started last year. His motto is to destroy aggression and to teach young boxers between 8 and 14 years self-motivation, self-defence and discipline. Asked if boxing does not aggravate aggression, his answer is a definite “No.” Apart from the young boxers wearing softer gloves and headgear, training and fighting stop the moment boxers show signs of aggression.His philosophy is that boxing should activate kids to build character, and that such a background enhances the value of their CV’s. He hopes to raise a world champion. His future plan includes a desire to have their own training quarters, since they have to adapt to the programme of the building presently used by his club. More time with young people is essential, since a lot of attention is paid to educating mind and body.Andile has five helpers, which include Connie Bobo, trained masseuse. All of these people have their hearts in the vision and work free of charge, as does Andile. He smiles wryly when he mentions that some people are of the opinion that he is trying to make money, while in reality all boxers are trained free of charge.This man’s vision to bring kids together and teach them social skills should inspire sponsors to invest in the future of young people. They are in serious need of some positive participation from the public.Contact Andile at 083 748 2210.