Cape Town — South Africa’s Jami Webb cut a cool figure during a controversial interview last month that had people reeling from anger and shock.
The Cape Town born-and-bred boxing athlete formed part of a Golden Gloves Q&A session hosted by one of South Africa’s greatest boxers, the world-renowned former champion, Brian Mitchell.
The interview included South Africa’s super welterweight and International Boxing Federation (IBF) Continental Africa super welterweight champion Shervantaigh Koopman (9-0) in what was a promotional prelude to their fight taking place on the Heavyweight Mania card at Emperor’s Palace on March 26th.
During the interview, Mitchell — who was crowned the WBA and lineal junior lightweight champion in 1986 before capturing the IBF junior lightweight title in 1991 — addressed Webb (6-1) who will be challenging Koopman for his IBF Continental Africa Super Welterweight title.
Mitchell, who forms part of the Golden Gloves promotion, asked Webb if he’s a “gangster from Kuils River”.
Webb’s retort was as follows: “I am a businessman. I am an entrepreneur, and I am a boxer from Kuils River.”
After Webb’s manager, Leroy Williams posted that segment of the interview on Facebook, it was received with disgust and protest by fans, followers and some of South Africa’s most respected combat sport figures.
“Are you a gangster from Kuils River? What the heck... Lol, well-handled response, Jami.”
“Very tasteless. That is just terrible!”
“Brian Mitchell lost my respect a long time ago, this is just a new low.”
These were some of the comments on Williams’ post.
When speaking to IOL Sport recently, Webb — who stays in the town just 25 kilometers east of Cape Town’s CBD — elaborated on the importance of South Africans being wary of and eradicating stigmas and stereotypes from society.
“You just need to know who you are, don’t let anyone tell you who you are,” says Webb.
“You know exactly who you are in your heart of hearts, so they can tell me who I am, they can say I am a gangster from Cape Town. They don’t know where I grew up, or who my parents are. I grew up in a good home. I always had food on the table, I did not rob any one, I went to school, I went to college, I’ve got a stack of certificates and diplomas, enough behind me to back me, and no gangster is going to have that,” added Webb.
The interview remained on the Golden Gloves’ YouTube account before being removed after a few days. Golden Gloves’ Managing Director and renowned boxing figure, Rodney Berman said that he was not even aware of the situation.
“I honestly have no idea what this is all about, and was not even aware of an interview being removed from YouTube.”
When reaching out to Mitchell via Whatsapp to ask whether he’d made contact with Webb to clear the air or apologise, our message was blue ticked and is yet to be responded to.
Should Mitchell respond, we’d follow up with an update.
Getting back to the exciting card taking place this weekend, for more details, check out the Golden Gloves social media accounts.
Berman also confirmed that the Golden Gloves promotion plans on hosting at least another five shows this year still.
12 rounds vacant WBA Inter Continental heavyweight title
Bogdan Dinu (Romania) 20-3-0 vs Kevin Lerena (South Africa) 26-1-0
12 rounds SA & ABU Africa heavyweight title
Joshua Pretorius (KZN) 7-4-0 vs Juan Roux (SA champ, Cape Town) 6-0-0
12 rounds IBF Africa jnr. Middleweight title
Jami Webb (Cape Town) 6-1-0 vs Shervantaigh Koopman (SA and IBF Africa champion, Johannesburg) 9-0-0
6 rounds heavyweight contest
Shaun Potgieter (Boksburg) 3-0-0 vs Keaton Gomes (KZN) 6-2-0
6 rounds middleweight
Phikelani Terence Khumalo (KZN) 4-0-0 vs Mbiya Kanku (DRC) 8-5-1