Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time who stood for democracy, equality, and freedom. His history is rich with landmark events and experiences, which made people gravitate towards him for the wonder of his life. 

Aside from his career in politics and his fight for freedom, he was an avid student of the science of boxing and was friendly with several great boxing champions.

African Ring offers a wide variety of Nelson Mandela Boxing Memorabilia. Contact them today to find out more information.

Nelson Mandela: The Boxer

Mandela’s first experience in boxing occurred in 1930 when he entered the ring as a student at college. Boxing was not the popular sport then as it is today and it was not supported as a mainstream sport at the time. In Mandela’s later years he could be found training in the Donaldson Orlando Community Centre gym after a full day’s work at South Africa’s first black-owned law firms. His son, Thembekile, would often accompany him during his training.

Nelson Mandela documented his early boxing experience in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. He described how the facilities at the gym were very rudimentary and how the gyms of the time were poorly equipped to foster the sport. This particular gym was not equipped with a boxing ring, but rather boxers had to train and fight on a concrete floor, which was a harsh surface to land on when falling to the floor during sparring. The gym only had one punching bag and a small number of gloves available. There were no skipping ropes, mouthpieces, or even proper boxing shoes.

In 1953 Mandela was famously photographed sparring with the future lightweight champion, Jerry Moloi, who frequented his gym. Mandela felt the plight of all aspiring African boxers during apartheid. They were not afforded the same privileges and benefits of a fully equipped and functioning gym within which to train. Mandela would note how most aspiring professional boxers could only train in the evenings after a full day of work, and how that schedule was not conducive to being training strong. Sparring partners at the gym were also subpar. The available ones were not paid or poorly paid and didn’t have the required skills to be able to challenge any of the boxers properly.

Mandela attributed much of his ability to handle the stress of his fight against apartheid to his amateur boxing career. Although he did not fight professionally, he was a natural heavyweight. He focused on training and used it as an outlet for the stress and tension that he was experiencing in other areas of his life. To Mandela, age, race, and colour did not matter in the ring and all things were equal. Mandela appreciated how fighters would attack and retreat, and move their bodies with such agility, and was a keen follower of the sport. 

For all your Nelson Mandela Boxing Memorabilia, contact African Ring today. 

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