In 2003, then promising amateur boxer, Sinethemba Mandyoli hung up his gloves to pursue a career in managing fighters from marginalised areas.
Mandyoli, 41, from the Eastern Cape, grew up in Gugulethu, where he sharpened his skill in the ring at Elukhanyisweni Community Centre, in 1997.
His passion for academics and sport earned him a spot at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) where he took up boxing as a hobby and represented the institute at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) games.
He completed a BA in Linguistics and English Literature and an Honours degree in Development studies at UWC, followed by an LLB from the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Mandyoli’s passion for sport runs deep in his blood; it has prepared him for some of life’s ups and downs over the years.
Between 2003 and 2013, after he retired from fighting, he gained a much broader perspective of his community of New Crossroads as well as what works and what doesn’t work for professional boxers.
Mandyoli said the township is filled with exciting prodigies who need a voice, or in his case, a manager, to get them international title fights throughout the globe.
Late last year, he took former multiple international division champion, Toto Helebe, from Gugulethu, to a main fight in Tanzania. Helebe has a record of 29 fights, including nine knockouts and nine defeats. He is considered one of the best boxers to represent the township globally.
“We managed to take Toto Helebe into his title defences. In the past I noticed some professional boxers were being short-changed by the promoters,” he said.
Mandyoli said they have built good relationships with promoters locally and globally to benefit the fighters they manage. He believes more can still be done, in terms of administration, to advance the longevity of boxers in the professional arena.
“There is always tournaments for amateur boxers. As soon as they become professional it is up to them to market themselves. In many cases professional boxers are lucky to stay in the game for 10 to 15 years. I find fights, sponsorship and develop a career-plan beyond boxing,” he said.
Mandyoli believes that communities that lack full time trainers have the responsibility to come together and source professional conditioning coaches that will assist in developing boxers.
“We have boxers but not enough full-time conditioning trainers. Someone works 9am to 5pm, they rushes home and to the gym to train amateur and professional boxers. We need full-time trainers.
“The future is bright but the future belongs to those who prepare for it. If there is a fight and you sleep at home you are going to lose that fight. You need to prepare, such is life,” he said.