Punching her way to a national championship

Chantel Erasmus from Brakpan Boxing Club became a South African Champion at the South African Junior Boxing championships in KwaZulu-Natal after just a year in the ring.

After something of a boxing hiatus in Brakpan, a new national champion has risen from slumber.

Chantel Erasmus (16) from Brakpan Boxing Club has been throwing all the right punches.

After achieving a silver medal for Ekurhuleni at the Gauteng Championships in Alberton, where she won a silver medal in the women’s 57kg division, the Hoërskool Die Anker learner continued her climb up the boxing ladder by winning gold and becoming a national champion at the South African Junior Boxing championships just outside of Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal last weekend.

Donning the colours of Team Gauteng, Erasmus defeated Sibongile Matiwane from Western Province in a semi-final bout (on points) to advance to the final against Nomhle Mthembu from KwaZulu-Natal.

The Brakpan Central resident won the final in the second round via technical knockout (TKO) to become a South African champion for the first time.

“It was hard,” the rising boxing talent said.

“Those girls had a lot of experience.

“I have only been boxing for a year and you could see they have been in the ring longer than I have.”

Despite her inexperience Erasmus stuck to her guns and emerged victorious.

“I feel really good about it.

“I never thought I’d be a South African champ, but I was fitter than my opponent and that showed.”

She added that the only thing that was going through her head during the bouts was: “This is my ring, my fight, my medal – they won’t defeat me.”

It is that confidence that will stand her in good stead in her boxing career.

Her victory now means she will travel to Botswana in the near future for a tournament at which she could be selected to the South African team that heads to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in April next year.

From there the Brakpan boxer hopes to achieve her ultimate dream of representing the country at the Olympic Games.

She realises it won’t be easy to become an Olympian, but if there is one thing that boxing has taught her it is “to motivate yourself.”

“I had moments when I cried during training sessions, but I never gave up and that made me a better boxer.

“Boxing has taught me to think clearly and to push myself to the limit.”

Erasmus said she looks up to her father, Morne, who was also a champion boxer.

She also hopes to see more girls put on the gloves and step into the ring.

“There are not a lot of girls doing this sport.

“Not only boys can box, girls can too.

“I have been boxing for a year and became a national champ.

“It shows you that if you put your heart into it, you will achieve it.

“It’s not just you in the ring.

“There’s a whole team backing you.”

She thanked her parents and coach Koos van den Berg for their undying support.

A proud van den Berg said: “Chantel’s win is terrific for Brakpan Boxing Club.

“After being closed down for 15 years, we now have a national champion after just one year of being open again,” he said.

“Next year the club hopes to have four SA champions in our stable.

“I have already told the boxers who they will be.

“If your heart, self-discipline and motivation is good, then you can reach your goals.”

Anyone who would like to start boxing can contact van den Berg via email at [email protected]

Also read: Breeding boxing stars of the future

Watch: Son has fun boxing his dad

Crystal proves girl power on the rugby field

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Logan Green
Sports reporter

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