Fight Africa gets the sweet science buzzing
CAPE TOWN – It may be an overused cliche, but who cares when it’s true.
“It truly is an exciting time to be alive” if you’re an avid South African boxing fan or student.
Boxing has come alive in Mzansi, some may attribute it’s rise once again to the growth of mixed martial arts, some may even link it to the spiked culture of recreation, fitness or the self-defence drawcard.
Either way, it’s healthy for boxing and South Africa soon could be celebrating the Sweet Science the way we did when Boxing was a TV favourite back when stars such as Dingaan Thobela, Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala, Brian Mitchell, Cassius Baloyi and Gerrie Coetzee mesmerised enthusiasts.
Let’s of course pay homage to our current generation of fighters. The likes of Moruthi Mthalane, Hedda Wolmarans, Kevin Lerena, Chris van Heerden and Thabiso Mchunu, who continue to make waves in the sport.
There are so many talented athletes coming off the conveyor belt. As per Boxing South Africa, on average there are 700 professional boxers licensed annually by BSA.
However, not all of them are as privileged as some of the names mentioned above as the lack of opportunities have led to hundreds of athletes not reaching their full potential.
“While there are boxers that solely rely on boxing for a living, there are numerous athletes who have other professional careers. I don’t think we can even start doing a fair comparison to the international brands. Boxing abroad is way ahead of where we are and what we are trying to achieve,” says BSA Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Nkomo.
“The absence of sponsors in the sport as well as a broadcasting deal has a huge contribution to the earnings gap,” she added.
There are some great promotions in South Africa (plus-minus 70 BSA-licensed boxing promoters annually) giving African boxers a platform to shine, but in this case “less is not more” and with that said, the newly-formed Fight Africa boxing promotion/managerial brand aims to take fighters to the next level via its Africa-Europe link as it hosts shows on both continents.
“Fight Africa was established because of a desire to create better opportunities for African boxers – both at home and on the international scene,” said a Fight Africa media statement.
“The interests of the boxers are at the heart of what we are doing. We have seen too many boxers sent unprepared overseas for big fights. We will build boxers with the right fights at the right time. We aspire to have World Champions in our stable but our first priority is to help boxers at all levels and stages of their careers. We will be a hybrid managerial and promotional entity which will allow us to not only obtain fights with other promoters, but also directly promote and build our boxers,” read the press release further.
The Fight Africa team is made up of the following established names within the fighting fraternity.
Fight Africa CEO, dual-national (England and South Africa) Tom Varley – former fighter and holder of the Guinness World Record for the longest punchbag marathon in 2010 – who is well-versed in Private Equity Investments and Chartered Financial Analytics.
Professional Fighting Championship and Pro Fitness Academy co-owner, Angelo Addinall – who has done so much to help grow combat sport in Africa with the help of his father (and former fighter) Neville Addinall and business partner, Duane Cawood.
Matthew Leisching is Co-owner of one of the most influential and cosmopolitan gyms (MADfit MMA) in the country. Matthew is known for his boxing prowess which has attracted some of the world’s biggest actors and sports women and men to his gym including Travis Fimmel and Pearl Thusi.
The team recently acquired the partnership of renowned Scottish boxing promoter/manager Sam Kynoch (Kynoch Boxing) who will give the FA machine further kilowatts. Sam is a renowned name in the UK and has been involved in boxing for over 20 years and the former law practitioner has experience with global sports management firms and has promoted more than 60 combat events thus far.
“We are coming into the game with solid foundations and we are here to work with everyone for the good of the sport. We will work with all sanctioning bodies as long as it is in the best interest of the boxers,” said Fight Africa.
“We will not be driven by any specific agenda and will adapt to deliver the best opportunities for our stable of boxers.”
For the moment, the brand will be based in Glasgow, Scotland and Cape Town, South Africa.
“We anticipate holding at least 5 events in 2021. Once the Covid-19 situation improves we will be ramping up our promotions,” says the Fight Africa team.
The first event will be held on March 12 at Pollsmoor Correctional Facility and Fight Africa have officially confirmed a partnership with Jackie Brice Promotions to assist with the Cape Town leg, while Kynoch Boxing will help roll-out events in the United Kingdom.
“Our 12 March promotion will be behind closed doors but the great news is that fans can catch all the action on Pay-Per-View - via SEI Sport. We will be sharing the link on all of our social media platforms. PPV is a way we can supplement fighter earnings if they build up decent followings.”
Fight Africa has already secured the services of various big African names including Cameroon’s Nico Yamdje, South African Heavyweight Champion Tian Fick and many more.