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PEARL FOR SUCKER-PUNCH!

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MBABANE – The future of boxing in Africa is in Eswatini’s Pearl Dlamini’s hands and all in three months.

Soon after her historic election into the International Boxing Association (IBA) independent Board of Directors (BoD) on Saturday in Istanbul, Turkey; the IBA President, Umar Kremlev, who said that this was the ‘Year of Africa’, tasked Dlamini to have come up with that masterstroke proposal for taking boxing to another level in Africa. The former Eswatini Boxing Association (EBA) President and New Boys Boxing Club Director, as well Eswatini Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (EOCGA) Board member, is one of the 10 elected Board of Directors for the IBA. She is the only African, as she continues to make history in her sporting career that dates back to 1996, when she became her late father Felix Muir’s New Boys Boxing Club secretary. The team had been formed in 1992.

enormous

Responding to a questionnaire sent to her by this publication on Tuesday evening, Dlamini revealed that her first task was an enormous but exciting one for the African continent and Eswatini at large. Her task is to put together a programme on the things that ought to be done to support and develop the scope of Africa boxing this year. “I need to develop and table a proposal in the next Quarterly Board Meeting (QBM). But for me to do that, I will need to first conduct an extensive assessment of the state of boxing across all of Africa. “This will help us to understand the different needs and areas where attention can be given in each country in Africa. Help will then be segmented according to the priority areas, and those in need of major support like Eswatini will be in the priority list. I have three months to deliver on my first assignment,” she responded when questioned what her first task was as IBA BoD.

The ‘Queen of Africa Boxing’, as they affectionately call her throughout Africa and beyond, assured her dedication to fighting and protecting her continent’s interest in the sport. This includes women empowerment in administration and athleticism as well as ensuring that the African continent benefits from the funding to be availed for reform programmes. “History has been made. We have never had a female candidate elected in the IBA Board. We have never had someone from Southern Africa. So, being a first for Eswatini and the African continent, it means Africa now has a voice within the IBA Board, someone who will lobby, influence and push for their cases to be heard. Priority and attention will be given to them in terms of support, especially in the reform programmes. Africa will be represented across all the Committees,” she said.

This highly influential lady is renowned for breaking barriers and setting historic records, as a female administrator in male dominated sectors as she became the first female boxing association president in the whole world, when she was elected into then SWABA, now EBA as president for two terms running during the period of 2011 and 2020.

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