Johannesburg - South African professional boxing is currently experiencing a flood of fighters from across the continent who will further their careers in local rings.This month’s rankings from Boxing SA (BSA) reflect a steady stream of fighters trekking south to ply their trade.
The boxers come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania.
The Democratic Republic of Congo tops the chart with 20 professional pugilists. Congolese fighters are scattered across different weight divisions and the majority are based in Gauteng.
Second on the rung is Zimbabwe, with five fighters. Three of the fighters are based in the Western Cape, one is in Gauteng and one is in Limpopo.
Malawi has four pugilists punching it out in South Africa. Two are based in the Western Cape, one is in Gauteng and one is in Mpumalanga.
Florian M’Florian, a junior heavyweight fighter based in Gauteng, is the sole Tanzanian fighter in South Africa at the moment.
While BoxRec, a leading boxing records source, lists the boxer as M’Florian, he is more widely known as and appears as Florian Mabuye in BSA ratings.
Mabuye beat Jaden Matthew on points during his professional debut at the Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward, KwaZulu-Natal, in March.
The high number of Congolese boxers may mean that the fighters see something great in South African boxing as they make the country their preferred destination to further their fistic careers.
Limited boxing opportunities
One of the most talented fighters from the Democratic Republic of Congo is cruiserweight campaigner Ilunga “Junior” Makabu. He arrived in the country in 2008 – shortly after turning professional – and was trained by the late Nick Durandt.
The southpaw was knocked out by Englishman Tony Bellew in the third round of their World Boxing Council title scrap at Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool last May.
BSA committee chairperson Willie Saayman said the arrival of fighters from the continent augured well for the country.
“South Africa has opportunities for fighters because there are limited boxing opportunities in their home countries,” he said.
“In August, there were only 10 boxers from the Democratic Republic of Congo in South Africa and the number has doubled”.
BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka said: “The strong presence of boxers from other African countries in the South African boxing space is to be expected. It is actually consistent with the broader trend of regional and continental migration when one looks at the patterns of migration within the continent.
“The view of BSA is that these migration patterns could be attributed to pull and push factors, but mostly to the pull factors”.
Lejaka further attributed this migration to the presence of world renowned administrators such as African Boxing Union vice-president Dr Peter Ngatane.
“Dr Ngatane is a South African, and South Africa boasts him and many other world-renowned boxing administrators, ring officials and boxing legends, including recently deceased trainer Nick Durandt.”