By Mark Etheridge
With our boxers having punched their way to 11 medals at the recent African Zone Four Championships in Tshwane, Boxing SA president Andile Mofu is quietly confident ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
The South African team, pictured right, were in action over 15 divisions, and topped the Zone against seven fellow southern African countries.
Our three boxers that featured at the 2012 Olympic Games in London were all in action but of the trio only Siphiwe Lusizi took gold as he beat Lunsile Dyamdeu with a first round knock-out in the 75kg division.
And then there was Paul Schafer who walked off with the best boxer of the tournament and Sibusiso Bandla (49kg) and Tulani Mbenge (69kg) also struck gold.
Schafer also represented Team SA at the 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique and Mofu raved about the big red-head.
“In my mind, Paul produced an amazing performance,” Mofu told Road to Rio 2016. He went on to defend his title against some tough opponents and came out tops. He will surprise many people at the Commonwealth Games.”
Further down the line, he expects big things from Bandla. “If one looks at boxers like him, he is sure to grow within the ranks, provided he stays with Open Boxing [the former Amateur code]. He put on a gallant performance to win on all three judges’ cards.”
At the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, South Africa failed to win a medal but with all four of our Zone Four gold medallists looking to have provisionally booked their place on Team SA for Glasgow, there will be cautious optimism of some positive returns this time out.
Next up for the South Africans will be a training camp in Europe in June and then the Africa Cup in East London in the following month.