Simangele Hadebe Shapes Up for Career-Defining Title Bout

Simangele Hadebe is preparing for what she has termed her 'biggest fight’ where she will take on formidable WBC (World Boxing Council) champion Gabriela ‘La Bonita Sanchez in a few weeks. Africa’s top boxer will be doing battle with her Mexican opponent on 24 May 2024 for the vacant IBF Intercontinental Flyweight Title in Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied

Simangele Hadebe is preparing for what she has termed her biggest fight where she will take on formidable World Boxing Council champion Gabriela ‘La Bonita’ Sanchez in a few weeks in Johannesburg on 24 May, 2024. 

Africa’s top boxer will be doing battle with her Mexican opponent for the vacant IBF Intercontinental Flyweight Title: “I can say it’s my biggest fight, getting into that world level is where I want to be so I can test myself (against the top fighters). 

“She is ranked number 10 in the world and so am I. I am not expecting an easy fight, it’s going to be tricky, technical, and also good for the fans, so I hope you are all going to enjoy it.”

African Champ, South Africa’s Simangele Hadebe

Hadebe was crowned the Female Boxer of the Year at the Boxing SA Awards, and was celebrated at the gsport Annual List 2023 Newsmakers ceremony, in a year of recognition for Africa’s best female boxer.

‘Smash’ – as Hadebe is affectionately known – is the South African flyweight champion as well as the African Union Boxing (ABU) champion.

However, she was set to compete on the international stage but that fight was postponed which meant she missed out on important competitive time in the ring.

“I think patience is key, there was demotivation but I have been working hard despite the fight postponements. We just kept our heads high and just kept on working and that’s the life of a boxer. We just keep on working even though we don’t know when the next fight is but it’s finally happening and we are taking this title, it’s not going to Mexico.” 

Meanwhile, her manager Colleen McAusland says Hadebe is a fighter who has more than earned her right to be on the intentional stage given her talent and the bout will be an entertaining one for fans. 

“I am beyond thrilled for this upcoming fight, and immensely proud to see Smash step into the ring for what promises to be a monumental bout in her career,” said McAusland.

“Smash has proven time and again that she is among the best, not just in South Africa but globally, and this fight is a testament to her hard work, dedication, and the respect she commands in the world of boxing. She fully deserves this opportunity to showcase her talent on such a prestigious platform.” 

Simangele Hadebe’s Manager, Colleen McAusland

“We are all excited to support her as she fights not only for the title but also to champion the crucial cause of combating women and child abuse,” continued McAusland. “This fight is more than just a match; it’s a chance to inspire and make a significant impact, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

There is real fighting talk from Hadebe ahead of this clash, and not only does she want to win the bout but she also wants to put on a good show. She feels this is exactly what the fans will get when she takes on the Mexican in a few weeks. Despite it being a while since she has had a competitive fight, Hadebe says she is prepared on a mental and physical level. 

“I can say I am 100% ready, I have got a very good team supporting me, I’ve got very good sparing partners as well as my sponsors who are supporting me, so it can say I’m very well mentally and physically. 

Simangele Hadebe

She is taking a rather holistic approach to the 10-round fight and says she will use it not only to improve but to get herself in the best shape possible for future bouts in 2024.

“Improvement will be number one for me as I prepare for this fight, there has to be improvement and I can’t prepare for this fight only. Other opponents are coming, maybe in defence or challenging the WBC (title)”, said Hadebe. 

“So for me, it’s to prepare not only for this opponent, but also for what fights may lay ahead in the coming year for me. My main focus is the WBC, so I can’t just focus on improving for this fight only, and not thinking about the future”, said Hadebe.

South Africa will shortly be celebrating Freedom Day, gsport has been celebrating athletes who have made their mark on women’s sport since the country became a democracy 30 years ago with the #FreedomInSport campaign. 

Hadebe has shared what she felt can still be done almost three decades later. “It’s difficult when it comes to women’s sport, but there are those 5% or 10% that are trying to make a mark, who are trying to improve things for women and build women.”

“Some don’t want to see women going up, so we just have to keep on fighting as women so that we can improve in the right way, with the right people who want to see us improve.”

Tickets for Hadebe’s fight are on sale and will be available through official ticketing partners.


Main Photo caption: Simangele Hadebe is preparing for what she has termed her ‘biggest fight’ where she will take on formidable WBC (World Boxing Council) champion Gabriela ‘La Bonita Sanchez in a few weeks. Africa’s top boxer will be doing battle with her Mexican opponent on 24 May 2024 for the vacant IBF Intercontinental Flyweight Title in Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied

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