Hard work and persistence paid off for Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) boxer Likho Nxele when she won a gold medal at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) Games jointly held at CPUT and at the University of the Western Cape last week.
The third-year education student, from eNkanini in Khayelitsha, technically knocked out her Durban University of Technology opponent in the second round of the final, reclaiming the gold medal she won at last year’s USSA Games.
The flyweight boxer from Kuyasa Boxing Club said her experience at an international university sports tournament in Turkey last year motivated her to train harder for upcoming championships.
“The USSA Games were alright. They weren’t too hard. I did what the coach taught us to do. I focused a lot on power in this tournament. Even when I jabbed I used power and it won me fights,” she said.
The 20-year-old Nxele, weighing in at 52kg, said her career so far has not been all smooth sailing.
“This year wasn’t as easy. Before the games, they didn’t put me on the team. I had to beg and speak to the HOD for a meeting. Even on the day of the weigh-in, I wasn’t even sure if I would fight the next day.
“I stayed prepared. My coach said let’s go on the scale. For me to win gold is a proud moment because it proved to me hard work and dedication work well together,” she said.
Boxing trainer at Kuyasa Boxing Club, Sipho Sitwayi said Likho’s determination was not only motivation to the other boxers but also to him as a coach.
“It was tough but we prevailed. We were determined to prepare and participate in the tournament. She once represented Team SA at the regional games in 2020 where she won a silver medal. She was the first girl in Cape Town to do that,” said coach Sitwayi.
Likho’s mother, Nophelo Nxele expressed how proud she was of her daughter’s amateur championship achievements.
“I’m so proud of her. I didn’t know that after nine months I would birth a champion boxer. I want her to go forward. We will support her,” said Nxele.
CPUT trainer, Sinethemba Madikazi said 12 of his boxers participated in the event and eight walked away with medals.
Nxele won gold in the 52kg, Lisakhanya Mcosana won a bronze medal in the 60kg and Nxele Kwanele won a bronze medal in the 66kg female divisions.
In the men’s divisions, Bukwane Anelihle won gold in 48kg, Hosea Mokgahla won gold in 92kg, and Thulani Ndlovu won silver in 68kg. Luyanda Kaite won silver in the 60kg and Jade Vreloc won bronze in the 54kg.
“It was not an easy road. I think she (Likho) was the best boxer in the tournament. Likho’s name was not part of the team list, however, she didn’t lose hope, she continued training till the day of the tournament, she showed hunger to participate and she proved that to us. I urge you all to remember her name, Likho Nxele, because the future is bright,” said coach Madikazi.
“I am very proud of the boxers. Their hard work and dedication paid off. For me it is about the continuation of what is already being developed, a well-nurtured, matured, and disciplined leader.”