Nations flock to South Africa for inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup

April 16th, 2024 / AFBC

South Africa and IBA are ready to pay tribute to the nation’s greatest leader, as the inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup comes to the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban

In a joint venture by the IBA, the African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) and the South African Boxing Organization (SANABO), the tournament, set to take place from 15 to 21 April, will feature 12 women’s and 13 men’s weight categories. The Mandela African Boxing Cup highlights the IBA’s commitment to the African continent and its trust in delivering exceptional quality tournaments.

The boxers learned their first rivals following the official draw. The opening ceremony was held on 15 April to kick off a huge celebration of boxing on the continent with the first bouts starting on 17 April.

The Mandela African Boxing Cup is named after the anti-apartheid activist-turned President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela – a figure synonymous with peace and harmony.

Mandela trained in boxing during his time in prison during apartheid South Africa, calling the sport “egalitarian”, as it allowed people of all backgrounds to compete.

IBA President Umar Kremlev said: ‘We are delighted to bring the Mandela African Boxing Cup to the home nation of the great South African leader, Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela’s message of peace and togetherness was echoed through his involvement in sport. During his hardest hours, boxing was a constant positive for him, providing discipline and resilience – it is only fitting that we hold this tournament in his memory.’

Some of the stars coming for the tournament include World Championships medallists Alcinda Dos Santos and Rady Gramane from Mozambique. The prize fund for the Mandela African Boxing Cup is $500,000 USD.

Chris Roberts OBE, IBA Secretary General and CEO, said: ‘We give thanks to the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, the African Boxing Confederation and the South African Boxing Organization for their cooperation, making this fantastic initiative a possibility. The boxers participating in the inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup shows the enthusiasm felt for this sport across the continent.’

This tournament was named after “Madiba” with permission from the Mandela family, who are supporting the competition through the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, founded by CEO and Mandela’s granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela.

Ndileka Mandela, Founder and CEO of Thembekile Mandela Foundation said: ‘Sports serves as a universal language, bridging gaps between people from diverse backgrounds. During apartheid-era South Africa, boxing emerged as a popular sport choice, particularly in the Eastern Cape, where I grew up – it served as a means to level the playing field. Let’s unite and pursue our dream of a united Africa relentlessly – don’t let the passage of time deter you from achieving your goals.’

The inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup coincides with South Africa’s commemoration of 30 years of freedom and democracy since the historic election of 27 April 1994. As the people of South Africa celebrate the gains, achievements, and the milestone of 30 years of democratic rule and living in a free and democratic society, the national boxing community would like to highlight its own gains, and achievements as far as the sport is developed in the country since 1994.