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Boxing development day a huge success - by Terry Pettifer

The Emperors Palace/Golden Gloves Promotions boxing development day in the North West Province on Sunday (July 26) was an overwhelming success! Part of
Golden Gloves Promotions and Emperors Palace’s ongoing pledge to raise the necessary funds for rural communities to build boxing gymnasiums, thereby alleviating some of the stress and hardship synonymous with disadvantaged
communities, Sunday’s traveling road-show attracted a crowd of more than 600 children, who were treated to boxing exhibitions by some of the country’s leading
fighters. With the likes of fourtime world champion Zolani “Untouchable” Marali, Hekkie "Hexecutioner” Budler, Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilembe, Rodney Berman, Jeff Ellis, Vusi Zwane of Emperors Palace and trainer Colin Nathan in attendance, the event, which was held at the Diratsagae Middle School
(Grades 7-9) in the village of Dikeby, also featured skipping techniques, sparring sessions, hand-pad techniques and introductory instructions pertaining to
the art of boxing.

Golden Gloves Promoter Rodney Berman had a boxing ring erected at the school earlier in the week, and also sponsored an afternoon braai which amply catered for the huge audience that included the region’s mayor and several other prominent dignitaries. In all, over 800 people attended the event and the likes of Marali, Budler, Berman and Chilembe were swamped by autograph hunters and well-wishers.

“It’s one of the most unforgettable days in the history of this community” said one appreciative school-teacher, while another expressed her gratitude by saying, Sport is an ideal medium with which to keep our children from resorting to crime and we are truly thankful to all the people who initiated this fantastic event”.

Vusi Zwane of Emperors Palace was clearly emotional at seeing the manner in which the guests were received and remarked, ”Boxing has always been one of
the most popular sports in South Africa’s rural communities and Emperors Palace, along with Golden Gloves Promotions, recognizes the dire need to conduct development clinics, fund raisers and boxing exhibitions in order to assist villages such as Dikeby.”

Current IBO junior lightweight champion Zolani Marali was especially popular amongst the scores of school children who were seated around the ring and even
sparred with a couple of enthusiastic young students. “Who knows, maybe there’s a future world champion here today” said the beaming Marali, who playfully
took a ‘ten count’ at the hands of one of the young participants.

Having handed out packets of sweets, soft drinks, boxing magazines and T-shirts, Golden Gloves’ matchmaker Ruben Rasodi finally bid the audience farewell, by saying, “We will return, and before long you will have a gymnasium of your own with boxing equipment and skipping ropes, so please don’t forget us”.

Methinks there is little chance of that happening!