The South African National Amateur Boxing Organization (SANABO) is ready for a new Open Boxing League which aim to develop and unearth latent talent in boxing.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula announced Friday that a new Open Boxing League, to be run by SANABO, will take a format of an Inter Provincial Series which will be staged in two venues, in Eastern Cape Province and Gauteng Province for a start.

The tournament will be staged on a fortnightly basis, with each venue hosting 18 tournaments culminating in the finals, which will be staged at a single venue. Each province will be required to enter a minimum of 10 male and five female boxers for the Inter-Provincial Series.

The Department of Sport and Recreation remains the main funder and sponsor of the SANABO Open Boxing League. Mbalula explained that 7.0 million Rand (one USD = about 15.64 Rand) from the allocated funds to SANABO would go towards funding the Open Boxing League, with the department providing additional support and collateral funding over and above the core funding.

“In preparing ourselves for this league, we have thus far trained and qualified 16 one-star AIBA certified officials, including referees, judges and ringside officials. It is heartening to note that all provinces have already established their provincial teams and registered the players,” said Mbalula.

“The league will start mid-August 2016. A Pre-League launch event will be held in August to announce the provincial teams, logos, team names, conduct a draw for fixtures and other related matters to the operation of the league.”

SANABO President Andile Mofu welcomed the news of the Open Boxing League and assured that the organization was willing, ready and able to do its part.

He said that the league is going to focus mainly on boxers that have not been given a chance to represent South Africa in major tournaments.

The department announced that, as part of the turnaround strategy for boxing, it will develop, invest and promote women’s boxing. Boxing South Africa has begun to invest significantly in women’s boxing and the department has also invested in female boxers and bouts.

A special consultative gathering for women in boxing was convened to address the key specific areas that affected the growth of women’s boxing. An all women bout was convened in KwaZulu-Natal recently to mark the important milestone of promoting women in boxing.