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.