One of the depressing realities of SA boxing is that championship belts have stopped being awarded to local title-holders.
It’s a sad state of affairs that Golden Gloves, in its own way, wants to address. Rodney Berman has commissioned a number of SA championship belts to be manufactured for a number of its current or former national champions, namely Kevin Lerena, Johnny Muller, Warren Joubert, Grant Fourie, Sean Ness and Ryno Liebenberg.
He has already discussed the initiative with long-standing Boxing South Africa official Dr Peter Ngatane, assuring him that while the belts will be manufactured under the guidance of BSA, Golden Gloves will stump up the cash for their creation.
“For some fighters the belt is their only legacy,” said Berman. “It’s tremendously sad that so many locals have lost out.”
Indeed, when BSA came under financial strain it offered belts to boxers only after they had made a number of title defences, which was hardly fair. Historically, all SA title winners earned a belt, but the dysfunction within BSA put an end to this in recent years.
“We are one of the few countries where national champions don’t receive belts,” said Berman. “This has to change and we hope it will help lift standards.”
But Golden Gloves wants to look out for other fighters, too, chiefly those who hail from impoverished areas. At their cost, Golden Gloves will also have belts made for champions who fight in areas that receive no support from local government, that is excluding areas like the Eastern Cape and KZN where there is some funding for boxing tournaments.