Former champions, top boxers and City officials are exploring ways of getting Soweto to punch its way back to boxing glory.
The boxing legends from Soweto met recently with the City’s Sport and Recreation department in Region D to discuss how the sport can be returned to its former glory.
The big names who attended the boxing dialogue included the likes of Lehlohonolo Ledwaba – famously known as the “Hands of Stone,” Bongani Mwelase, William Gare, Steve Semanga, Kgotso Motau, November Ntshingila, and Ditau Molefyane.
Ledwaba is one of South Africa’s finest boxers of the past decade. His titles include the World Boxing Union (WBU) in 1996, the International Boxing Federation in 1999 and the WBU again in 2002. As a retired professional boxer, Ledwaba now runs boxing development in Soweto to uncover and develop raw talent.
“Boxing in South Africa used to be a number two sport after soccer, but now the situation has changed,” he said.
Ledwaba runs his boxing development at one of the City owned sport and recreational facilities in Soweto, where he hopes to find the next boxing champion like himself.
Another former boxer turned trainer, Steve Semanga, also runs boxing development. He said there was a need to introduce the youth that are now involved in drug abuse to boxing.
“A lot of the youth are involved in drugs. We need to start training them from a young age. Boxing instills discipline,” said Semanga.
The boxers agreed that there was a need for them to unite and to continue engaging with the relevant sporting stakeholders in order to develop the sport. They said they needed the City to assist them in their objectives to build boxing gyms and to produce boxers from Soweto.
The Assistant Director for Sport and Recreation in Region D, Karabo Semenya, encouraged all the boxers to use the City’s 36 recreational facilities in the region.