Nwabisile “The Slow Poison” Cholani will have the opportunity to fight for Plettenberg Bay’s first South African boxing title on 29 March.
A local resident for more than a decade now, Nwabisile Cholani happened upon boxers training at the Simunye Centre in Kwanokuthula when he moved to Plett from Dimbaza in the Eastern Cape in 2008.
Having had some experience with boxing as an amateur fighter in his hometown near King Williams Town, Cholani decided to join the club and, as they say, the rest is history.
It is here where he met local boxing legend Gcobani “The New Bones” Tom who had, during the area’s boxing heyday, represented the town at a professional level.
During Tom’s time in the ’90s, Plettenberg Bay was vibrant on the boxing front, but this faded over the years. He once beat Zukile Fileni from Cape Town in Plett’s Piesang Valley Hall during the late ’90’s. Fileni later went on to fight for the SA title against Lehlohonlo Ledwaba – a fight which Tom still believes should have been his but was given to a boxer he had beaten.
After retiring from boxing in 2002, Tom started the Sonqoba Boxing Academy and has so far produced the likes of Litha Basakabini, who went on to win a silver medal in SA Amateur Games in Johannesburg in 2009; Sibusiso Twani, who made number five in the SA boxing ratings in the mini flyweight division around the same time; Unathi Ndwana; Sebelomzi Mzimela; and many more professionals boxers.
They have all since left the club because of its inability to get matches for its boxers due to a lack of financial support. “As a result, many boxers have to depend on 9 to 5 jobs, making it difficult for fighters to focus on their boxing careers. Twani is now in a Johannesburg boxing club while Litha Basakabini had quit boxing for music. The only boxer that is still with the Sonqoba Boxing Academy is Cholani,” Tom said.
While Tom feels he had once been robbed of the opportunity to win a title himself, he believes it is his time for a title through the boxers he has been training.
Cholani, through the academy, has become the Western Cape champion in the junior flyweight division, made it to the number eight spot in the SA ratings and recently won in front of his home crowd in Plett after taking on Mbulelo Nxazonke from Mdantsane.
In view of the lack of funding that hampers local boxers’ chances of competing at this level, Cholani’s fight against Nxazonke was made possible after Bitou Municipality came to the rescue and funded a tournament (in partnership with Ntsika Boxing Promotion) in Plett in December last year.
This win against Nxazonke helped him qualify to challenge Ntlantla Tyirha for his SA junior flyweight title, and when he gets the opportunity to take on Tyirha on 29 March at the ICC Indoor Sport Centre in East London, it will be the first time for a Plett – and Garden Route – boxer in a national boxing championship fight. Not only will it be the first SA title fight for Cholani, but it will be televised by SuperSport.
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Source: Knysna Plett Herald News