MICKEY Klaas, Boxing SA’s representative in the Western Cape, believes title fights at provincial level are crucial for the development of professionals.
The long-standing boxing official, who is based in the Mother City, said he was pleased to see a Western Cape title bout on the Kalakoda Promotions ‘Battle of the Bantams’ bill at the Southern Sun Cape Sun on February 28.
The vacant Western Cape junior lightweight title will be on the line in the scheduled 10-rounder between two seasoned campaigners, Lwandiso Gugushe and Simphiwe Tom, and is the main supporting bout for the headline clash between SA bantamweight champion Toto Helebe and SA No 1 contender Cebo ‘Homicide’ Ngema.
“I cannot remember when last there was a Western Cape title but I am pleased that we finally have one now,” said Klaas. “One cannot put a valueon these provincial title fights because it works wonders for the development of our boxers. These provincial title fights can point the professionals in the right direction because promoters and trainers can gauge a boxer’s championship ability.
“This is the way to move forward at a time when every effort is being made to revive the game in the Western Cape.
“Last year, nine Cape Town promoters held licences, and only four were active. It’s wonderful that Kalakoda Promotions will stage a Cape title fight, and I hope we’ll see more in the next few months.
“The great thing about this bout is that both boxers have had SA title shots, and that gives one an idea of how strong this division is in the Western Cape. And both boxers are SA top-10 ranked.”
Lwandile Gugushe, of Khayelitsha, is a SA No 5 ranked junior featherweight, with a fight record of six wins and five defeats. He is mentored by Hendrik Human in the Master Energies Boxing gymnasium in Sea Point.
In the other corner is Simphiwe Ntsimbi Tom, the SA No 10 ranked featherweight. He has 11 wins and three defeats on a 14-fight record. He is from Lower Crossroads and trains at the Future Champs Container Boxing Gym in Philippi under the guidance of Jaji Sibali.
The pugilists, both 26 years, are well-known to each other since they shared a friendship since childhood days.
Gugushe’s trainer Human said he was not giving away anything ahead of their February 28 clash. “It’s bad enough that the two know each other so well and Gugushe will have to come up with something totally different,” said Human. “It is no secret that Gugushe has traded heavily on the left hook to the body but now he’ll have to enter ring with other weapons.
“He’s super fit for the title fight and I feel he is ready to make statement that he could take on the best in the country, never mind the Western Cape.”
Tom’s mentor Sibali is keeping his cards close to his chest. “Tom knows what he is up against and has prepared well,” said Sibali. “I very keen to see how Gugushe copes with Tom’s straight right because I have seen a few heavier sparring partners slump to the canvas at training this week.”
Promoter Steve Kalakoda said the undercard was generating great interest in the Mother City. “It’s a bit like the old days, when Cape title fights attracted as much attention as SA title fights,” said Kalakoda. “Cape title fights are stepping stones to greater things and we’re keen to stage more titles bouts later over the next few months.”