Emperors Palace & Golden Gloves- by Terry Pettifer

Ever since July 29, 2006, Emperors Palace and Golden Gloves Promotions have jointly forged a boxing pedigree comparable to some of the most successful of it’s time. Certainly it was an evolutionary move when South Africa’s longest running boxing consortium (GGP) moved their promotional operation to the site of what was formally known as Caesars Palace, and which is situated close to Oliver Tambo International airport.

Consequently the sport of professional boxing in South Africa has thrived and it’s no exaggeration to say that the two marketing heavyweights have elevated the overall image of the sport on the African Continent. Indeed, since that memorable night of July 29, 2006, Emperors Palace has hosted 23 world title contests, not to mention a stream of national title bouts and electrifying undercard events .

Then too, there have been definitive milestones on the SA boxing calendar, such as the time Emperors Palace staged the first ever women’s world championship event in South Africa, that involved Laila Ali; daughter of the legendary
“Greatest” from Louisville, Kentucky. Not to forget the arrival of “Iron” Mike Tyson –who for better or worse –was the world’s most recognizable fight personality since the days of Muhammad Ali.

Moreover, the Emperors Palace/GGP alliance has essentially been one of trust,
loyalty and creative flair and driven as both operations are, by their ongoing pursuance of excellence, tournaments at the “Centre Court” Arena at Emperors Palace traditionally attract huge audiences.

Development is one of the prime criteria on the Emperors Palace/GGP agenda and
in this sphere, their promotional teams have collectively raised the bar, and it’s highly laudable that the braintrust at Emperors Palace/GGP recognize the fact that the momentum has to be fervently maintained.

Field trips to underprivileged areas have paid dividends, and the recipients undoubtedly benefited from the experience, both from an incentive and financial aspect.

Also, the regular development tournaments at Emperors Palace’s “Theatre of Marcellus”, has indubitably ignited a positive response, both in terms of progression and patronage, and it’s noteworthy that most of the current crop of flag-bearers under the GGP banner are under the age of 25.

Clearly this augurs exceptionally well for the future, especially when one considers the plethora of burgeoning talent who constantly showcase their skills at the Theatre of Dreams. Legends in the making include the likes of Tommy “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen, Tshifhiwa “The Atomic Spider” Munyai, Jason “Badman” Bedeman, Isaac “The Golden Boy” Chilemce, Daniel “Billy the Kid” Bruwer, Flo “The Demolition Man” Simba and Hekkie “The Hex-ecutioner” Budler, not to mention blossoming young stars like Ashley Dlamini and Joey Stigling.

From an analytical perspective, the year 2010 promises to be the most spectacular in the history of South African sport, and while the FIFA Football Word Cup will occupy centre stage during the month of June, professional boxing has an undeniable role to play, and one which could greatly enhance the growth, exposure and prosperity of our homespun athletes.