Promising 16-year-old heavyweight boxer, Matteo Cockburn, from Muizenberg, was likened to the legendary Mike Tyson, following his split decision win over Alce Melo, at 16 Ounce Boxing Gym, in Observatory, on Friday.
Cockburn, trained by Dominic Ferreira of Ferreira Boxing Gym in Retreat, won his first fight during 16 Ounce Boxing Club’s white collar exhibition event, dubbed, “Redemption”.
Trainer, Ferreira, said Matteo is a hard-working young lad with a bright future ahead in the boxing scene.
“He contacted me three to four months ago so he could box, to compete. When he joined my boxing classes I could see he had raw talent. We didn’t want to rush him into fights, so we prepared him in the gym. Preparations included a lot of sparring and specific combos… He is very humble and hard-working,” said coach Ferreira.
Organiser at 16 Ounce, Adib Salie said Cockburn and Melo, from B Boxing Gym in Wynberg, gave the crowd one of the best boxing rounds they have seen in a while.
“Matteo has a Mike Tyson kind of style on him. Really nice personality and a bright future. He was on the main card for the evening and is one of the fighters that we definitely needed on our card. We thank him and Dominic Ferero. He gave us a brilliant main card. He was fighting against Alce from Branton’s Boxing gym. He is also a big tough guy in the development. Both of them had about one or two fights each and on the night they were dynamic,” he said.
Originally from Kuils River, Salie said the white collar event was a competition structure that featured some of the best from the city metro district and some of the best from the Cape Winelands.
Zaahir Abrahams from Fighters Inc fought against Bulelani Siqubedu of DS Showtime Boxing. Terrance Kuture from Impakt drew against Lekan Akindele of 16 Ounce. Jacques Bothma of Impakt had the better of Ramadhan Dunia of 16 Ounce. Jude Uzor of B Boxing fought against Brenton Manuel of 16 Ounce. Marc Mukidi, from 16 Ounce, beat Joel Cairns of B Boxing.
“The athletes we had were at a developmental level. So we were not looking for fighters with more than five fights. We were looking for guys that are up and coming. Our response was; we’d like to throw something for the community, something that is not expensive, something that is a development tournament, something that has vibrant gyms that have added dynamic to it. Our response was to also involve community-driven businesses — so Obs is a very vibrant area that has businesses that are closely linked to the community, we’ve involved them with a lot of boxing clubs in the area,” he said.
Salie, who has assisted with development tournaments and facility openings in Hanover Park, Athlone, Ravensmead, Kuils River, Ottery and now Observatory, said Cape Town boxing has big shoes to fill to form part of a broader spectrum of sports tourism.
“This is and has always been a part of our vision in promoting boxing in Cape Town.
“We plan to ensure boxers from junior to senior phase will have sufficient skills development and network to take them into careers outside the ring using the boxing network we have created.We plan to integrate not only what we’ve learnt in the ring, but business and life skills,” he said.