Emile Kalekuzi, the youngest South African boxer to make it as a professional, joined the Morning Cruise today to tell us about his journey to the top.
He began to box when he was 9 years old. Growing up in the ghetto, Kalekuzi said in his experience, with so much violence in the streets, it is often difficult to stay out of involvement in crime. But he saw boxing as a way to take out his aggressions in a controlled environment. He has always been a “clean” fighter, meaning he follows the rules in the ring.
|Emma Derr, Emile, and Jasmine at Bush Radio.|
Boxing hasn’t been his only passion. Kalekuzi first pursued music but since boxing runs in his blood, he was willing to sacrifice his music. His father was a boxer and played a large part in his training. None of Kalekuzi’s siblings had an interest in boxing, so he wanted to continue his father’s legacy. He works hard, as all successful athletes must, and works out three times a day. He said one of his strengths in the ring is not just his strong punch, but also his mental stability. “I always win because I’m always smiling,” Kalekuzi said.
He said he also focuses on mental strategy. “Boxing works like you’re playing chess,” he said. Kalekuzi said the key was to always be thinking ahead of your opponent. This obviously has proved successful. During his amateur journey, he fought 45 fights that included 27 knockouts and 9 losses. In his professional career, he has fought 12 fights with 9 knockouts and 0 losses.
Kalekuzi will be competing in the World Boxing Council Youth tournament in September.
Presented by Jasmine Mazwi and Emma Derr.