Dingaan Thobela. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Dingaan Thobela. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

DINGAAN Thobela says the future of South African boxing is blossoming like roses in Spring.

The "Rose of Soweto" was reacting to the announcement by promoter Rodney Berman that the World Boxing Association (WBA) has reopened its doors to South African fighters.

Thobela was the last South African boxer to win that organisation’s belt, a feat he achieved at Sun City on July 26 1993 when he beat Tony Lopez.

Berman revealed that Hekkie Budler has been appointed by the WBA for its straw-weight interim title and the distinguished promoter said that fight will be at Emperors Palace on November 9. But Berman is waiting for the WBA to appoint Budler’s opponent. Budler is rated No3 by the WBA.

Brian Mitchell, who held the WBA junior-lightweight belt, unified with International Boxing Federation (IBF) holder Lopez, but in Sacramento. Mitchell, who defended the WBA belt 11 times, was unsuccessful in that fight, which was declared a draw. But Mitchell, who was stripped of the WBA belt for challenging for the IBF strap, eventually beat Lopez in their rematch.

Thobela says he has great respect for the WBA, the oldest sanctioning body, founded in 1921.

Berman added that reigning International Boxing Organisation (IBO) super-middleweight king Thomas Oosthuizen will bid for the seventh defence at the expense of Argentine Ezequiel Maderna on November 9.