Picture: Lonwabo Marele
Outside the ring they’re the nicest fellows, but inside the ring they live up to their nickname. The 22-year-old boxers from 9 SAI Boxing Club at the Military Base in Khayelitsha, said they are confident of victories against their opponents.
The brothers have two professional fights under their belts – Bongani has two wins while his brother won one and lost one, against Pontack, last year.
The boxers received the name “Terrible Twins” after flooring most of their opponents during the qualifiers leading to the finals of an amateur tournament in the Eastern Cape in 2015.
The twins said they are inspired by American boxers, Jermell and Jermall Charlo.
The 28-year-old Charlo twins, from Louisiana, have taken the middleweight division by storm, as each has maintained impressive records – Jermall 33 wins and one defeat; Jermall unbeaten in 30 fights.
Although the Khayelitsha twins have some way to go to match their American counterparts’ statistics, they are showing signs of becoming household names.
Bongani represented the national team and won a gold medal at the Zone 4 Africa Games in Angola in 2017; reached the quarter-finals of the All Africa Games in Congo in 2017 and won a silver medal at the Zone 4 Africa Games in Mozambique in 2018.
“I’m hoping to earn respect. I did not choose boxing, it chose me. Right now it is about loving the sport, the success will follow. When you are fit, everything in the ring falls in place,” he said.
Both Bongani and Zumbonge started boxing in Mthatha, in 2009. Zumbonge made the provincial team in 2015 and won a silver medal at the national championships.
The following year, he lost in the qualifiers but bounced back in 2017 to win a gold medal at the nationals.
His hard work paid off as he was named the Eastern Cape’s best boxer. Success followed in 2018 when Zumbonge won a gold medal at the nationals and made the SA team where he won a silver medal at the Nelson Mandela Cup in East London.
“We started boxing as youngsters. We convinced each other. We were about 10 or 11 then we went all the way and never stopped,” said Zumbonge, who will have his work cut out whe he faces Pontack.
The last time they met, his opponent won via a unanimous points decision at the Wynberg Military Base.
Although wary about his opponent, the orthodox fighter is confident that he can get the job done. “My aim is to prove a point,” said Zumbonge.
Encouraging young people to follow their sporting dreams, he said: “Sport grows a person. It gives you character, discipline and it takes you away from the negatives.”