Picture: Fuad Esack
UWC head coach Ayanda Mapasa, from Khayelitsha, has worked with Drewery for the last three years.
Mapasa, better known as Ginger in the boxing circles, is also involved with the Khayelitsha Boxing Academy and is quick to spot talent.
“When she arrived at Udubz, she was into Thai boxing. One day she spotted a punching bag on campus and was attracted to find out more. That’s how she discovered UWC Boxing Club. I immediately recruited her, he said.
“Three years ago she was the national flyweight champion and last year she was ranked number two in the country. Our main focus was to get her to the Olympics but unfortunately that goal was put on hold due to Covid-19,” he said.
“It takes about three or four years to prepare a fighter for the Olympics,” he said.
Introduced to the sport at a young age, Drewery wasted no time in taking advantage of the training opportunity allowed under the relaxed lockdown regulations.
“You’re probably wondering how did I begin fighting,” she said, during a short break from training.
“I think I was about 10 or 11 when my dad introduced me to Thai boxing,” she said.
Although passionate about the sport, she’s quick to point out that it wasn’t a case of love at first sight, the first time she stepped into the ring.
“I wasn’t used to the training. All I wanted to do was play outside,” she said.
“But gradually after a while, I just started training, sparring and I did not know I was going to be put in my first fight,” she said.
Unfortunately, the dreadlocked fighter said, she was a bit overwhelmed and things did not go her way. She lost.
“It was intense. What happened, there was a weigh-in, everything was done, I didn’t know what was happening, I was nervous and, unfortunately, I lost,” she said.
“I don’t think I gave up after I lost that first fight. The only thing I needed to do was just relax and continue training. I got into the next fight and I grew that tenacity as I developed inside the ring.
“As a child, you tend to forget about everything that is happening inside the world. I guess that is the best time to develop your talent and technique.
“Of course, you can also do that at a later stage but you just need to not worry so much,” she said.
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