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Fri Apr 18 17:41:29 SAST 2014

Orlando Communal Hall preferred to host Mayweather

BONGANI MAGASELA | 13 January, 2014 12:180 Comments
iHeartRadio Music Festival - Press Room - Day 2
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Image by: Michael Tran / FilmMagic

THE Orlando Communal Hall, which a stone throw away from the famed Orlando Stadium, is the preferred venue in Soweto where global boxing megastar Floyd “Money” Mayweather will meet the boxing fraternity on Saturday, says Boxing SA’s acting chief Loyiso Mtya.

The 36-year-old American, the world’s best pound-for- pound fighter for the past decade and is undefeated after 45 fights, will arrive in South Africa on Wednesday.

He will visit Soweto, Bloemfontein, East London and Cape during his five-day stay in the country. Sports minister Fikile Mbalula, who announced Mayweather’s visit last week, said the beloved pugilist will specifically conduct clinics. He said Mayweather’s first stop will be the Dube Boys Club where he must meet former and current fighters.

Mtya, a former national boxing champion, said they respected Mbalula’s initial plan, bearing in mind that the Dube Boys Club is the focal point since Mbalula’s plans are to establish a boxing academy named after fallen boxing hero, Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala.

“But we want to get the Orlando Communal Hall because it is bigger. We want to avoid a possible stampede because Floyd is not an ordinary boxer but a beloved superstar who will draw lots of people,” reasoned Mtya Sunday.

“I mean, we expect former and current boxing champions, trainers and managers. Those people, alone, will be too much for the Dube Boys Club. I have not mentioned ordinary fight fans who will also want to meet their idol. We want to give them the opportunity to see and listen to their hero when he addresses them.”

Mtya said confirmation of the venue will be made early in the week.

“We know that there is not much time in terms of workshops but we are looking forward to him imparting his knowledge; how to prepare for a fight; ring general ship; responsibilities and obligations of a boxer inside and outside the ring as well the business of boxing, things that made him the success story he is,” said Mtya about Mayweather, the highest paid boxer currently in the world.

“Our former and current champions should make it a point that they bring their belts with.”

Regarding the visit in East London on Friday, Mtya said they were looking at getting Sisa Dukashe Stadium which is where historic boxing matches took place.

But Mayweather will first visit Bloemfontein before heading to East London. He will be at Emperors Palace on Saturday night for a gala dinner to raise funds for the development of the boxing academy in Dube; jets off to Cape Town on Sunday and departs on Monday.

Said Mbalula: “The development visit by Floyd is based on excellence, enhancement and promotion of the code of boxing in South Africa. The partnership with us and the Floyd Money Team is about inspiring South Africa’s boxers, trainers and promoters to aim for the sky and take the world by the storm. We want to further that through this Reawakening the Giant 2014 Tour. The visit has been intertwined within the 20th Anniversary of democracy celebrations. The Money Team visit is coordinated in partnership with Sport and Recreation, SASCOC, SABC, SuperSport, Boxing South Africa and SA National Amateur Boxing Organisation as part of the national boxing Indaba resolution.”

SASCOC president, Gideon Sam, said they were excited to be part of the Reawakening of the Giant 2014 Tour.

“This is a tour to assist us in the resurrection of this giant — boxing — which has for some time being in slumber land, after so much history invested into it,” he added.

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