Johannesburg - African Boxing Union (ABU) president Houcine Houichi has commended South African boxers for dominating the continental scene as more champions emerge from the country.
South Africa currently boasts 11 title holders – three as the ABU’s main champions and eight as southern regional kings.
The latest to swell the numbers is Thabiso Mchunu, who won the cruiserweight title, beating Johnny Muller by a unanimous points decision at Emperors Palace last Saturday.
Nigeria and Morocco have one continental champion apiece, according to the latest ABU ratings.
But it is in the southern region, whose president is Peter Ngatane, where there is a proliferation of title holders from Mzansi.
Houichi told City Press a few days ago hat he was pleased with the manner in which the ABU was progressing in South Africa.
“We decided in 2015 to start four regional titles,” said Houichi.
“The southern region under the leadership of Dr Ngatane is doing very well. It has promoted a lot of these titles with great success – as we saw last Saturday at Emperors Palace with the ABU super middleweight title between Lee Dyer versus Alfonzo Tissen".
The 56-year-old Tunisian, who is now based in Spain, said he was confident that more South African boxers would win ABU belts in future and, ultimately, challenge for World Boxing Council (WBC) belts.
Coming to promote
Houichi is also the vice-president of the WBC.
“South Africa is very important for ABU and WBC activities; as are Ghana, Burkina Faso, Morocco and Benin.
“South Africa is now leading in hosting ABU tournaments because of reliable promoters such as Golden Gloves, who have the experience in this field, however, some new promoters are also coming in to promote our ABU and WBC titles as well,” he said.
As the man second from the top at the WBC, Houichi said he did not see South Africa having any problems with hosting big WBC title fights in future.
The last time the association hosted a championship here was in 2001 at Carnival City, Brakpan, when Hasim Rahman caused a major upset by knocking out the fancied Lennox Lewis in the fifth round to be crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
So far, only the WBC’s international title contests have been staged in South Africa.
Ngatane, who was elected in 1995 to serve on the ABU leadership, said the continental organisation’s titles were authentic.
“The association was formulated in Africa and is governed and managed in Africa by Africans. Fighting for its championship belts is therefore important,” said Ngatane.