UFH - Boxing - Boxing Nationals

To a man (and woman), the Fort Hare boxers who will be duking it out at the National Boxing Championship in Limpopo believe gold is within reach.

Five UFH students will be lacing up their gloves for the event in Tzaneen from July 4 to 9.

Four will be floating like butterflies, stinging like bees for the Eastern Cape provincial outfit while the university’s top female exponent, Vuyolwethu Dila, will be competing for Team South Africa.

Flyweight Dila, who will also be representing Mzansi in Cameroon later this year, has attended the nationals since 2018 and will be looking to add to the gold medal she brought home previously.

The BA student from Mthatha has been a mainstay of the national team and odds are she will again be a force to be reckoned with up north.

Inganathi Tom, 19, will be making her provincial debut at the championship, where she will be fighting in the 75kg weight division.

Having only been in the ring for five months, winning two of her three bouts, she admitted she was surprised to make the provincial team but no less satisfied.

UFH - Boxing - Boxing Nationals

Fort Hare boxers taking part in the National Boxing Championship, from left, Likho Ngcai, Vuyolwethu Dila, Sakhe Tyam, Sibonile Njungwini and Inganathi Tom are up for the challenge in Limpopo. Photo: Full Stop Communications

“I know there will be great boxers [in Limpopo] but I will try to win the gold,” she said.

“My training has been going okay considering I’ve been busy with exams. It was a rollercoaster and very challenging.”

She praised Fort Hare’s boxing programme, which had produced so many provincial representatives this year.

Another who will be in the ring for the first time for the province is 23-year-old Sibonile Njungwini, who is originally from Ngcobo.

He started boxing at age 15 while living with family in Gauteng but it has taken some time to break into the provincial team.

The third-year BSc student has flourished since joining Fort Hare’s boxing club and represented the university at the World Student Boxing Games in Turkey last year.

Competing in the 60 to 63kg division, he believes his experience in the ring will stand him in good stead at the nationals.

“I am expecting to show them (opponents) how good I can be and come back with a gold,” he said.

Ultimately, he hopes to inspire young people from his village to follow their dreams and make a success of their lives.

The surprise package of the Fort Hare contingent is Sakhe Tyam, 25, who only took up the sport in late February.

Since then, he has notched up an impressive 5-0 win record to put his name in lights in provincial boxing circles.

The fourth-year animal sciences student from Dutywa grew up watching the sport with his grandfather but, since there were no clubs in town, being a spectator was the extent of his involvement.

“I only decided to start boxing this year when I saw there was a club at Fort Hare,” Tyam, who competes in the 71 to 75kg division, said.

“I am very surprised that I made the Eastern Cape team.”

While he studies the techniques of greats like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, he believes his greatest asset as a boxer is his determination.

“I am resilient and can adjust to situations. [In Limpopo] I am expecting tough fights, but I am wanting the podium and am going for that gold.”

Rounding out Fort Hare’s contribution to the Eastern Cape team is 22-year-old BSc student Likho Ngcai, who described his call-up as a “dream come true”.

He is looking forward to being exposed to different boxing styles in Tzaneen and is under no illusions that it will be a tough assignment to ace.

“I will be educated in boxing when I come back from nationals,” he quipped.

“But I also have to make the tournament count because my birthday is on July 10. I want to be able to celebrate.”