CAPE TOWN – It may sound cliché, but Abdul-Aziz Kunert really holds boxing close to his heart.
“Boxing has played a major role in my life. Allah (God) has transformed my life through boxing and made me a better person. Just the thought of boxing again gives me butterflies,” says the 26-year-old star who eagerly awaits his chance to get back in the ring.
Had it not been for the horrible coronavirus and all that came with it, South Africans would have known who their new Featherweight champion is by now.
After knocking out the Eastern Cape’s and WBF Intercontinental champion, Mfusi Maxhayi in the elimination round of the SA Featherweight title in December, 2019, Abdul-Aziz (10-0) was set to take on fellow star, Thembani Baby-Jake Mbangatha (11-0) – who beat Aphiwe Masengwana in their eliminator round.
Unfortunately, the pandemic-enforced lockdown put most things on hold, and only recently following the easing to Level Two of the lockdown, have things been afoot to get competitions, events and tournaments running again.
After dropping Mfusi in spectacular fashion in the Camps Bay High School hall in the second round of their eliminator bout, one can understand why Abdul-Aziz and his fans are excited to see the continued evolution of a man who was first mostly known for out-skilling and outlasting his opponents with only one KO to his name prior to the Mfusi fight.
“There is no confirmed date or any scheduled fight as yet. I am also not sure who will host the promotion, all is yet to be confirmed. Due to this pandemic, lots of things have changed and we don’t know what to expect. Hopefully news of the fight will come soon,” says the man who trains out of Brice’s Boxing Academy.
After speaking to some of the brain trust at EFO and PFC Promotions, there are mechanics in the works for events to take-off soon in Cape Town.
“I have been training throughout the lockdown, but not as regularly because of the restriction of the lockdown at a certain point,” says Abdul-Aziz.
“The lockdown has taught me that you should invest and appreciate what you have. It has been a little tough not fighting, especially with my business – which my wife runs – closing due to the pandemic,” says the Milnerton-based family man.
“My family are the most important people in my life.”
With fighting and gyms taking such a big setback in the lockdown, plenty of athletes have had to find other means of income.
It was a huge eye-opener for many and with the new Fight to Fame reality show about to launch in Mzansi, many athletes see the show potentially as an alternative – if done right – for combat sportsmen and women to open other forms of revenue.
The reality show which plays out in the form of The Voice or Idols, will be rolled out in 150 countries across the globe. It will see athletes take part in various stunts, assessments and obstacle courses with the aim of becoming the next big action star by earning a Hollywood production contract.
The show is driven with the motivation that too few combat sport athletes are given the chance to use their skills and athleticism on the movie network – thus giving them with a fair chance of cracking it on the big screen and opening up new forms of financial support, too.
“I watched a few episodes, I think it’s nice and it can provide good opportunities for fighters. If an opportunity comes for myself to enter, I would sit down with my coach,” says Abdul-Aziz.
For now, Abdul-Aziz is focused on getting that South African Featherweight title.
“When I win the title fight, my focus will be international level and making good money.
For more details, visit https://www.fight2fame.com.