By Chris Totobela
All roads led to Alec Mullins Hall at the Rhodes University campus on 24 September where Rhodes University’s MMA club hosted a boxing tournament in celebration of Heritage Month. Boxers from the University of Fort Hare, Nelson Mandela University, the Modern Boxing Club from Somerset East, Masibambisane Boxing Club from Port Alfred, Phakamisa Boxing Club from Peddie and Golden Gloves, Thembalethu, Masibambane, Mfuzo, and Rhodes University, all from Makhanda, participated in this great event which attracted a decent crowd.
There were some very exciting bouts that got the crowd going and entertained. In the juniors’ bout, Mfuzo’s Imivuyo Botha exchanged leather with Somerset East’s Asemahle Ndamase in a thrill-a-minute encounter. In the first round, Ndamase took the fight to Botha, throwing strong and effective punches that were well taken by Botha who fought his way back toward the end of the round. In the second round, Botha took a lot of punishment and hardly threw a punch.
In the third and final round Botha received an 8 standing count from the referee after taking some serious and dangerous blows to the head, but still managed to finish the fight. It is a mystery why his corner or the referee did not rescue him from that kind of punishment which could have easily ruined his career. Ndamase won on points to face Masibambane’s Licebo Khwethani in the final of their category. Khwethani won this electrifying bout and took home a gold medal while Ndamase walked away with a silver medal for his efforts.
In another interesting bout, debutant Yolo Nkonzombini of Rhodes University (RU) MMA club lost on points against Mihlali Loli of Mfuzo Boxing Camp. In an all-female bout, Rhodes University’s Chesley Knock came up against the University of Fort Hare’s Zamkelwe Rhilityana. In the first round, both boxers threw a lot of punches with Rhilityana finding her target. In the second round, Knock slowly fought her way into the fight and caught Rhilityana several times but both got tired towards the end of the round. In the third round, Knock kept on making the mistake of walking straight into Rhilityana’s weak but meaningful punches.
Rhilityana became more exhausted and struggled to move around the ring, but Knock failed to take advantage. Rhilityana narrowly won the fight on points. Knock showed some improvement and with time she will surely become one of the best boxers in her category.
Lindokuhle Madlala of RU MMA club gave a very good account of himself in his bout and with hard work and determination he will go far in this sport as he showed some promising signs.
Tournament co-ordinator Thamsanqa Ndlovu of Rhodes University MMA club was pleased with how his charges performed, especially considering that they were fighting for the first time.
“Our members did well, as most of them were coming up against boxers who have provincial and national experience. We also do boxing as it is part of the MMA,” said Ndlovu. He also thanked all the participants. “We are very thankful to everyone who came to support us including clubs from outside of Makhanda and special thanks go to Makabo for working together with us. This was monumental for us and we appreciate the support,” concluded Ndlovu.
This was a great spectacle for boxing fans who braved the wet and cold weather to come and support these future champions who gave their all in the ring.