Johannesburg - Boxing South Africa has hailed the abundance of latent talent in South Africa as being the contributing factor to the country’s domination of the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) as champions.
Mzansi boasts five IBO title holders who reign supreme in different weight divisions: Simphiwe Khonco (minimumweight); Hekkie Budler (junior flyweight); Moruti Mthalane (flyweight); Gideon Buthelezi (junior bantamweight); and Malcolm Klassen (junior lightweight).
According to BSA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka, the large number of IBO champions shows that the country has massive boxing potential.
“BSA welcomes and appreciates the existing strong footprint of South African boxers at IBO world champion level,” said Lejaka.
“This bears testimony to the latent boxing talent that is abundant in the dusty streets of South Africa”.
Lejaka said the high number of IBO championship belts was further indicative that, with a bit of opportunity, South African pugilists had the potential to go beyond the IBO and win championship belts in other top sanctioning bodies, such as like the World Boxing Council, the World Boxing Association the World Boxing Organisation and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
“This poses a challenge for our promoters to work harder to establish relationships with these major world bodies and facilitate platforms for our boxers,” he said.
The reason local pugilists dominate the IBO more than any other sanctioning body can be ascribed to the fact that there is more activity within the organisation compared with other boxing bodies, where fighters take too long to slug it out for championship fights.
South Africa originally boasted six IBO titleholders, but Tsiko Mulovhedzi, who held the welterweight championship belt, had to give it up after winning the then vacant IBF intercontinental title by beating Italian Dario Socci at the Mangaung Indoor Sports Centre in April.
To date, South Africa has seen its boxers win 48 IBO belts – the highest number compared with other boxing sanctioning bodies.