Giving youngsters a fighting chance

Sea Point boxing trainer Christian Mugisho takes budding boxers through their paces ahead of the weekends Charity Reloaded boxing tournament.

More than 30 youngsters from across the city were a part of the Ring’s third annual Charity Reloaded boxing event at the Artem Centre, on Saturday.

The tournament was staged in aid of Khayelitsha’s African Youth Boxing Club and Hout Bay’s Harvest Youth Project.

Mugisho trains amateur and professional fighters, and some of his clients include students and lawyers, hence the tournament was billed as the Battle of Lawyers and Battle of Students.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids,” said Mugisho.

“We support a few centres in Khayelitsha and also in Hout Bay.

“It’s all about uplifting kids through boxing and giving them something to look up to.

“I provide them with basic training and food. Some have fought once or twice and on Saturday,” he said.

Regarding Saturday’s action, which took place on the balcony outside the gym, overlooking Main Road, Mugisho says it was a bit cold, but that the crowd were entertained by decent bouts.

Mugisho, a former super welterweight, hung up his gloves in 2016, following his win by TKO against Mzwamadoda Mjalu, in Langa.

He says he hopes to host one more charity event later this year and thanked everyone who helped to make the weekend’s one a success.

The Harvest Youth Project head coach, Peter Michaels, says they had eight first-time fighters taking part in the weekend’s charity event.

“Harvest Youth Project is a non-profit organisation in Hangberg, we like to set the platform for the youth through videography, photography and arts.

“The fighters are a part of our sports at the centre. I train them from Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings,” he says.

Michaels, a three-time SA champ who is rated number six in the world for kung fu, says he is preparing his youngsters for the Cape Fighting League in Saldanha Bay, on the West Coast, next week.

Michaels says he is also training the provincial wushu federation team that will take part in the nationals in Johannesburg next month.

“I’ve done kung fu for four years. If they do well at the nationals they will go to the world championships and after that they can qualify for the Olympics because kung fu is now recognised as an Olympic sport,” he says.

Michaels says it is a great feeling to see his youngsters excited to compete.

“If they want to take if further, they can actually earn a living from martial arts or boxing. Success isn’t money or a brand, it’s confidence, being prepared, experience and never giving up.”

Harvest Youth Project founder, Helena Fagan says there was a lot of camaraderie during the tournament.

“Peter Michaels did so well in training our kids.

“They were chosen to go and perform and they did so well. Thank you to Chris (Mugisho) for such an event, he has been training the kids and has been coming to us here in Hout Bay a couple of times to train the kids. It was wonderful to see everyone come together and help, it was also wonderful to see the mutual respect from all the kids.

“For us the whole thing is giving the kids self motivation,” she says.