By Mark Etheridge
New Boxing South Africa President Andile Mofu is busying himself with the new four-year Olympic sporting cycle as well as a new position in the boxing ranks.
Eastern Cape based Mopu, has boxing in his veins and has been a stalwart of the boxing component of South African multi-code teams abroad. He was coach/manager at the London Olympics last year.
He took over from acting President Steve Masike in the latest elections. Formerly known as amateur boxing, the code is now known as Open Boxing.
“The new executive and I have been working around the clock to get the administration in order to pave the way for our year’s programme,” Mofu told Road to Rio 2016 this week.
“We have national trials coming up later this month (22-24 March) in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal. All our medallists from the 2012 Open Championships (Elite) in Cape Town will be in action.”
That includes our two Olympian boxers Siphiwe Lusizi and Ayabonga Sonjica. “They’ve both been training had for the trials because this is the platform for them to retain their positions in the national team as a launch pad for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and then the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.”
Mofu says that after the trials a squad of pugilists will be picked. “The goal is to select a squad of 15 (10 male and five females) as preparation for 2016.”
The trials will take the form of a round-robin format and Mofu and his executive have asked the provinces to feature seven wild cards (five males and two females).
“The wild cards are all boxers with potential, the aim being to open it up for team selection as wide as possible. There’ll also be a training camp after this to prepare for the Zone Championships which will hopefully be held in SA. This will give us a measure as to who we’ll have in the national team.”
On the administration front, there’s also been action. “We have organised AIBA level One courses for both our officials and coaches. This will open the door for our officials to participate in international events especially at AIBA level. This year has been declared as a year of development, aligning ourselves to a better administration. Boxers are our number one customers and we hope to serve them to the best of our ability.”