Current heavyweight division in SA
South Africa has produced some quality heavyweights like Don McCorkindale, Ben Foord, Johnny Ralph and Johnny Arthur, and in recent years we have had WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee, Francois Botha (IBF) and Corrie Sanders who won the WBO title in sensational style when he stopped Wladimir Klitschko in two rounds. Sanders went on to knock out Johnny Du Plooy in the first round for the vacant title at Sun City on July 27 1991. He never defended the title and eventually relinquished it in February 1999.
Looking at the current crop of heavyweights as listed by Boxing SA in their most recent ratings, it’s hard to imagine any of them that could even be considered as world class.
The South African heavyweight champion Osborne Machimana is 38-years-old and has had 6 fights since 2010.
He regained the SA title on May 28 2016 when he stopped the 48-year-old Anton Nel and then went on to lose on points in September last year to Otto Wallin.
Jacob Mofikeng who was really a junior-heavyweight but a good fighter also beat Anton Nel for the title, but never did anything on the world scene as a heavyweight.
Nel hung around for some time winning and losing the SA title before he was finally relieved of the title by Osborne Machimana.
Machimana was an outstanding amateur but never quite realized his full potential as a professional. His name is spelt as Machimani by Boxing SA.
Wiseman Dlomo held the title for a short time before he faded from the scene in 2012 with a record 10-9-2; 10.
Looking at the boxers listed in the April 2017 Boxing SA ratings, only number one ranked Ruan Visser, 26, from Gauteng who has won 9 of his 10 fights inside the distance stands out. However, he still has to be tested against a quality fighter.
In his most recent fight on March 31 this year Visser stopped Ashraf Suleiman from Tanzania to win the vacant African Boxing Union South heavyweight title. The 35-year-old Suleiman has a record of 4-7-2-1nc; 3 and has only won one of his last eight fights.
At No.2 is Kilola Lubika Didier (listed as Didier Kilola by Boxrec) from the DRC but based in the Western Cape. He has only one fight listed on Boxrec and that was a loss to Ruan Visser on points. The question asked, being from the DRC does he qualify to fight for a South African title.
According to the South African Boxing Act a challenger must be permanently resident in the Republic for a continuous period of not less five years immediately preceding the championship contest. If Didier does not qualify to challenge for the South African title he should not be listed in the ratings.
Listed at No.3 is Marc Subramoney from KZN and the Eastern Cape who has a record of 2-1-1; 2.
At No. 4 is Warren Leroux from Gauteng who has only three fights listed on Boxrec with two wins and a draw.
Listed at No. 5 is Kizito Ruhamnye from the Western Cape via the DRC who has a record of 3-2; 3. He has only had two fights since 2011 a win and a loss. Does he qualify to fight for a South African title?
No. 6 is Justice Siliga (Silinga on Boxrec) from Gauteng with 5 wins and 5 losses in 10 fights. In October 2016 he was stopped by Kizito Ruhamnye.
At No. 7 is Sithembile August from the Eastern Cape with a record of 4-7; 4. He has lost 2 of his last 3 fights.
Ranked at No. 8 Nhlankanipho (spelt Nhlanganipho by Boxrec) Gwamanda of Gauteng has only scored one victory and a draw in five fights, his three losses have all been inside the distance.
Listed at No. 9 is Danie van Heerden who only has a one round knockout win over Kenneth Nkosi. Both were making their debut.
At No. 10 is J. P Pretorius (his full names are not listed on either Boxrec or Boxing SA.). Boxrec have him as Spicy J. He has only one fight listed, a four round points win over Unathi Ndlebe who was 0-3 at the time. Pretorius is 35-years-old.
Boxing SA should have the full names of fighters as I am sure they require a birth certificate when a boxer is registered. There should also be some credible criteria for fighters to be listed in the top ten.
Looking at the present South African heavyweight champion and the ten heavyweight fighters listed by Boxing SA, it has to be said that they do not inspire one with confidence for the future of heavyweight boxing in South Africa.
All the records have been taken from Boxrec.