Kuyasa Boxing Club duo, Likho Nxele and Sibulele Sobois are a fight away from representing South Africa at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in July..
The two junior flyweight champions are due to join the Protea Women’s team, among other SA outfits, at the Commonwealth Games trials in KwaZulu-Natal next week, but need some help to get there.
Originally from Ngcobo, in the Eastern Cape, 19-year-old Nxele moved to Cape Town in 2016 to stay with her older brother, Abongile Matyeleni. Her parents felt it was the right move for her to excel her education.
While at Siphamandla Secondary School in Khayelitsha, she joined a couple of extramural activities, including dancing and drama to help her transition into the community. But it was when she started boxing in 2019 that she felt at home.
“Boxing is good. It relaxes me. It heals me. I use boxing to stay away from the streets,” said Nxele.
In the same year she started boxing, she was crowned the 48kg (junior flyweight) champ at a South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO) junior boxing event in Mosselbay. A few weeks ago, she brought home a silver medal from the Region 5 Games in Lesotho.
Nxele said this year she is also completing her second year in a National Diploma in Education from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
“I want to succeed in boxing to become a professional to help other young girls to participate. In the organisations I attend (drama and dancing) I help a lot of young kids. I realised I enjoy helping them and so I studied education,” she said.
Meanwhile, her teammate, Sobois had to overcome the bullying she has suffered because of a scar on her head which she got when she was burnt with hot water as a child. At some point, she was afraid to walk without a hat on her head. But it was boxing that gave her an identity in the community. Sobois said she is now able to walk down the street without a cap on her head, and instead of hearing negative remarks, she hears the word “champ”.
Sobois started boxing in 2011, and in 2015 she was crowned the cadet champ in the 44kg – 46kg division, at Wits University. In 2016, she won the junior champ at Welkom. In 2017, she bagged a gold medal in the 46kg – 48kg junior flyweight division at Dundee, in KZN. And, in 2018, she was crowned the 46kg – 48kg division champ in Limpopo.
“The gym, listening to the coach and discipline are important. Give your all in what you do. The support I get from my parents and coach pushes me to go forward. There were a lot of things that tried to pull me back but I was strong,” she said.
Sobois has 15 fights; 12 wins and three defeats in the amateur division.
“Always be open minded. Never look someone else down because you will always learn something new,” she said.
Kuyasa Boxing Club coach, Sipho Sitwayi said the two champions succeed in the sport because they are willing to learn.
“They love boxing. During Grade 12, Likho (Nxele) wrote her matric while she was at the gym. She passed while she was a part of team SA. Because of funds, in Lesotho she was able to cope without me and she did well.
“They are willing to learn and are able to succeed. Since 2015 Sibulele (Sobois) has attended SANABO events and won in all of them. All we are asking for is some recognition to make their dreams become a reality,” said Sitwayi.
Kuyasa Boxing Club’s goal is to assist Nxele and Sobois to travel up to Dundee, in KwaZulu-Natal, from Saturday February to Saturday February 19, to participate in the Commonwealth Games trials, before heading to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in England in July.
However, before their dream comes true, they need to raise funds to cover travel and accommodation expenses.
For more information or to assist, contact coach Sipho Sitwayi on 078 687 3455 , or Keith Mpala on 062 314 5676.