Johannesburg - With August being Women’s Month in South Africa, Boxing South Africa (BSA) is delighted by the increase of female professional boxers in the past 16 years. The Boxing Act, which was passed in 2001, allowed women to box professionally and become licensees.
BSA chairperson Muditambi Ravele was one of the people who challenged the previous act, which prohibited women from participating in boxing.
BSA chief executive officer Tsholofelo Lejaka said there were 1 998 female licensees across all provinces, 90 of whom were professional fighters.
The others include managers, trainers, officials, seconds, agents, promoters, matchmakers and ring announcers.
“These have been a fruitful 16 years of female professional boxing. The increase in the number of boxers is an indication that female boxing has grown rapidly,” said Lejaka.
There were no female boxers before 2001.
“BSA is delighted with the growing number of licensees. The challenge was that some of them found themselves sparring with their male counterparts because of the inadequate number of women training in the gyms.”
Ravele said the BSA board made a resolution that women’s boxing would be one of its flagship projects.
“At our workshop in Durban last year, we formed a women’s boxing commission that reports directly to the board,” said Ravele.
“The mission is to increase women’s participation and also eliminate challenges that inhibit women from taking part in boxing.”
She said a boxing show to mark the anniversary was being planned.
Details will be disclosed once a promoter finalises the bill.
A look at the current rankings shows that there are nine South African champions.
Five fighters – including Bukiwe “Anaconda” Nonina, who is the World Boxing Federation (WBF) bantamweight queen, and Noni “She Bee Stingin’” Tenge, who holds the WBF welterweight belt – hold world crowns.
Nonina is arguably the country’s best female boxer. She won the then vacant title by beating Germany’s Alesia Graf by a unanimous points decision at Oliver Tambo Sports Centre in Cape Town in March. She will fight against Zimbabwean Patience Mastara over six rounds at the Mdantsane Indoor Centre in East London on Friday.
“I don’t know when I will be defending my title, but I’m looking forward to a good fight against Mastara as it will be part of the Women’s Month celebrations,” said Nonina. She has compiled a record of 15 fights (11 wins, three defeats and a draw).
Tenge is scheduled to fight Sweden’s Mikaela Laurén in Stockholm on September 30.
She Bee Stingin’ packs a mean punch and lives up to her moniker of stinging her foes. She beat Julie Tshabalala by a unanimous decision in 2015. She successfully defended her title against Hungarian Szilvia Szabados at Durban’s International Convention Centre in March last year.
“I wish the date of my upcoming fight could have been switched to this month so it could coincide with the festivities,” said Tenge.
Leighandre Jegels is the country’s top super flyweight boxer, having dethroned Nolubabalo Ngqondelana on points at the Orient Theatre in East London in June last year.