The inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup crowned 25 champions. IBA

After a week of competition in Durban, the tournament came to a close on Sunday with boxers from DR Congo claiming 10 titles on finals day. IBA and the Thembekile Mandela Foundation also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to develop young people's talents.

The first Mandela African Boxing Cup kicked off on 15 April at Durban's International Convention Centre. Two days later, the action began featuring nations from across the continent and beyond. The tournament was co-organized by the International Boxing Association (IBA), the African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) and the South African Boxing Association (SANABO). Oustanding fights featured 12 women's and 13 men's weight categories.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Louis Richarno Colin of Mauritius emerged victorious in the men's 63.5kg category, beating home boxer John Paul Masamba by unanimous decision in one of the best finals of the day. Another Mauritian, Fabrice Valerie, defeated Angola's Miguel Kembo to take the men's 51kg title.

DR Congo led the way with 10 golds at the Mandela African Boxing Cup in Durban. IBA
DR Congo led the way with 10 golds at the Mandela African Boxing Cup in Durban. IBA

Mozambique's world medallists, Alcinda dos Santos and Rady Gramane, experienced contrasting fortunes in the women's finals. Dos Santos dominated her opponent, Eswatini's Temalangeni Dlamini, in the 70kg with the bout ending after a third knockdown. Gramane, howvever, lost a split decision to Kenya's Elizabeth Andiego in the women's 75kg category. There was more joy for Mozambique in the men's 57kg as Armando Siguaque defeated South Africa's Amzolele Dyeyi. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo secured the most gold medals with 10. Benedicte Diyoka came out of the blocks to win the first bout in the men's -48kg category when South African Dila Vuyolwethu was forced to retire through injury. Gisele Nyembo Muamba followed with a first-round TKO of Veliswa Magaya of Eswatini in the women's -52kg final.

Twenty-five countries made it to podium in Durban. 'X' MANDELA BOXING
Twenty-five countries made it to podium in Durban. 'X' MANDELA BOXING

Mbiya Kulenguluka won a close men's 71kg final against Tiago Muxanga of Mozambique with both men thinking they had done enough to earn the decision. Later, Kulenguluka's compatriot Peter Pita Kabeji won the men's 80kg class against Tanzania's Yusuf Changalawe.

The other Congolese champions were Jorbelle Malewu (women's +81kg), Bweluzey Anthony Lazare (men's +92kg), Marie Joel Mwika (women's 81kg), Brigitte Mbabi (women's 66kg), Merveille Mbalayi Mbamba (women's 63kg) and Marcelat Sakobi Matshu (women's 57kg).

Smaller boxing nations also shone: Mouandat Njinnou of Gabon stopped Hoosein Isaacs of South Africa in the second round of the men's 92kg final. Lesotho's Retselisitsoe Kolobe defeated Kobamelo Molatlhegi of Botswana in the men's -48kg bout, and Joshua Cousin won by second-round stoppage in the men's 75kg final against Temesgen Mitiku of Ethiopia. There were also victories for Botswana, Egypt, Tunisia, Angola, Namibia and Bangladesh.

IBA CEO Chris Roberts and Ndileka Mandela, Nelson Mandela's first granddaughter and CEO and founder of the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the organisations. Roberts emphasised that Nelson Mandela's legacy continues through boxing.

The Thembekile Mandela Foundation and the IBA established several key points of collaboration through the Memorandum of Understanding including developing joint initiatives through the use of boxing as a tool for social impact and community development, and promoting inclusivity and diversity within the boxing community.