TWO Port Elizabeth professional boxers, Thapelo Potwana and Ivan Strydom, have selected 12 young boxers to fight at the annual Mdantsane Amateur Boxing Association tournament in East London next week.
Fifth-ranked former SA junior welterweight title challenger Potwana lost to defending champion Mzolisa Yoyo in April, while Strydom surrendered his Eastern Cape heavyweight crown to Unathi Jacobs last month.
Both fighters felt the time had come to expose talented young boxers from Nelson Mandela Bay to the Eastern Cape's boxing powerhouses like Mdantsane and Duncan Village in Buffalo City.
Potwana said the 12 amateurs were selected from local boxing tournaments held across the region.
"There were tournaments staged around the metro's townships and most of the local boxing clubs took part.
"We visited those tournaments and identified and selected only the best amateur boxers who have the potential to become professional champions."
Potwana said their aim was to develop and introduce the promising amateurs to the outside world of "hard-punching and blood-sweating tournaments".
"This is the start with our young boxers.
"The partnership between Bay professionals and the East London boxing associations will help us bring top-flight fights back to the region.
"We will continue sending our amateurs to compete in these big provincial amateur tournaments because it is at tournaments like these that they will grow and develop their boxing careers."
Strydom said the Eastern Cape was the mecca of boxing in the country.
Their vision was to work with other provincial structures to develop future world boxing champions.
"We want to promote these young boxers to the professional division because they are the stars of tomorrow.
"We want to give them a chance to live positive lives and move away from the streets."
The Mdantsane Amateur Boxing Association tournament initiative is aimed at helping out former champions in Buffalo City who are struggling to make ends meet after putting the sport and the region on the world map.