By Herman Gibbs
CAPE TOWN, Western Cape - Enterprising Kalakoda Promotions have announced details of their next tournament headlined the 'Battle of the Bantams' at the Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel on Friday, February 28.
In the feature bout, the reigning SA bantamweight champion Toto Helebe makes a title defence against SA No 1 contender Cebo 'Homicide' Ngema.
Promoter Steve Kalakoda said his organisation is determined to provide opportunities for SA boxers.
"There are many challenges facing boxing in this country but we are up to it," said Kalakoda. "We've now seen that some SA promoters have taken their business abroad but we've chosen to make things happen in South Africa.
"This will be our third Cape Town event in four months and we have shown sponsors that we can be vibrant, enterprising and entrepreneurial. Our live stream events are a first for South Africa, and fans around the world will be able to follow the action again on February 28. We have had feedback from expats around the world.
“We have attracted sponsors like television channel eTV and soon we’ll be staging events in other centres in South Africa and neighbouring countries."
The Gugulethu-based Helebe won the title (from Phumzile Matyhila) in 2012 in East London and just three months prior to that conquest he won a points decision over six rounds to Ngema at Cape Town's Good Hope Centre.
Ngema's mentor, Thabiso Koetle, recently recalled that his charge was hard done by on that occasion. "The home crowd knew that day that their boy was soundly beaten and it just confirmed my suspicions that an outsider never wins in Cape Town," said Koetle.
"This time we'll take the fight away from the judges by knocking out the champion.
"I'm sure Toto's conscience is still bothering him because he knows that he was beaten that day."
Teach Madubedube, Helebe's coach, said the February 28 fight was a good time to put the record straight. "I've heard for some time now about the sour grapes in the Ngema camp but I can't see what the fuss is about," said Koetle. "Helebe is all class and in his two title defences he's won great praise from the boxing media.
"Ngema is a one-sided boxer, unlike Toto who is an allrounder. We're so well prepared for whatever Ngema throws at us."
The main supporting bout is for the vacant Western Cape junior lightweight title between Simphiwe 'Ntsimbi' Tom and Lwandile Gugushe. Tom has already ran up two failed attempts for the SA title in the past three years and presently finds himself at No 10 on the national rankings.
Gugushe lost a SA title bout last September and slots in at No 4 on the latest SA rankings.
There are five other four-rounders on the cards at the indoor venue in the Cape Town city centre.
Amy de Morney, spokesperson for sponsors Filcon Group South Africa, said her company was heartened by Kalakoda Promotions' efforts to sustain boxing in the Mother City.
"I, like many of my staff, grew up in the township and boxing often rescued the lives of youth who were exposed to unsocial behaviour," said De Morney. "It is said the see that boxing has disappeared in so many centres but we're pleased to assist anyone who wants to keep it alive.
"It wasn't a difficult decision to support this tournament."