Arnold Schwarzenegger and nominees the star attractions at SA Boxing awards
The awards ceremony is being funded by the Gauteng government
Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger will make an appearance at the SA Boxing awards ceremony in Sandton on Friday‚ but that is not what will make the function unique.
The ceremony‚ for the first time‚ will feature a boxing tournament where some of the nominees will be in action.
In another first‚ it is effectively being promoted by 18 promoters — the Gauteng promoters’ association voted among themselves to decide which of their boxers would compete in the four-fight bill announced by organisers on Tuesday.
Eight boxers contracted to eight different promoters.
The evening is being funded by the Gauteng government and the boxing tournament is being considered a pilot project that could lead to more collaborative tournaments.
SA female lightweight champion Kholosa Ndobayini‚ nominated for Female Fight of the Year for her 2018 battle against Hedda Wolmarans‚ takes on Xoliswa Jonas.
Ndobayini’s coach‚ Lionel Hunter‚ nominated in the Trainer category‚ will have to switch between his tuxedo and his corner whites during the evening.
Unbeaten SA bantamweight titleholder Ronald Malindi‚ one of the five male Boxer of the Year contenders‚ defends his SA bantamweight crown against former opponent Clautus Mbele.
The show also features a Gauteng lightweight title fight between Khaya Busakwe and Brandon Naude‚ and a flyweight preliminary between debutants Given Mpinga and Thami Luthuli.
It seems as if the three SA boxers who have held bona fide world titles in the past year will be recognised at the awards after all.
There were raised eyebrows at the omission of Moruti Mthalane (IBF flyweight champion)‚ Zolani Tete (WBO bantamweight) and Hekkie Budler (former IBF‚ WBA and The Ring magazine junior-flyweight titleholder) from the nominations.
The other four male Boxer nominees are Tulani Mbenge‚ Kevin Lerena‚ Azinga Fuzile and Yanga Sigqibo.
The tournament also forms part of the Arnold Classic weekend which is where Schwarzenegger comes in.