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South Africa could soon boast a world champion in karate and boxing

2015-08-23 15:07
Leighandre Jegels is also a karateka Picture: Sijuta Promotions

Have boxing lovers heard of one ­Leighandre Jegels? Well, they are about to hear a whole lot more. 

In a rare occurrence, South Africa could soon boast a world champion in both karate and boxing. 

That is if Jegels’ dream comes true. 

The 21-year-old Cranberry Primary School, East London, student teacher is involved in the kyokushinkaikan full-contact karate style. 

She has been the SA champion four times – in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 – in the ladies under-55kg division. 
And this owner of a black belt has won countless other accolades. 

Last Friday, Jegels raised her sporting profile by winning her fifth professional boxing bout via an ­eighth-round technical knockout over ­Argentina’s Mariana Clausi at the Orient Theatre. 

Jegels, who is trained by former International Boxing Federation junior featherweight kingpin Vuyani “Beast” Bungu, put up a spirited showing as she scored with classy, powerful punches, pummelling her opponent until the fight was stopped. Her performance proved that she has a bright future in the sport. 

Jegels’ win was her fifth inside the distance since joining the paid ranks last year.

She has also been a karateka since 2009 and is doing well as a martial artist. 

Paying tribute to Bungu for “moulding me into a good boxer” Jegels said she was determined to make a mark in both sports. 

“Bungu has done wonders for me since he started training me last year after I turned pro in 2013. I owe it to him to make it big one day,” she said. 

“I’m still very much involved in karate. It will be quite an achievement to become a world beater in both sports one day.” 

Jegels said that because both ­disciplines were similar, it made things interesting. 

“My training sessions are fun because my karate instructor, Stephen Martin, moulds me in the sport while Vuyani fine-tunes my boxing skills,” she said. 

Her boxing promoter, Andile ­Sidinile, believes his charge has the ­potential to make it in the big leagues. 

“I want her to take it one fight at a time, until she ultimately gets a world title shot. 

“She’s extremely talented,” he said.

Read more on:    boxing  |  karate
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