“Boxing is more than a sport to me, it is my go-to place and something I love to do. It has helped me through hard times in life, and I am very passionate about it.”
“And, I really want to help pave the way for younger girls to grow up in the sport and also reach their goals, as sport is an empowering force for women,” the 27-year-old Bonita van Jaarsveldt said.
What started out as something to do with her father and to keep her fit for sport at school, quickly changed into something she cannot live without.
“I started boxing when I was 10 years old, mainly because my father was boxing at the time, and I trained with him at the Dan Bushney boxing gym. Initially, I only boxed because I wanted to stay fit for school sport, but I fell in love with the sport, and the rest, as they say, is history,” she said.
She added that in the almost 18 years that she has been boxing, she stopped for three years, and explained, “I stopped boxing in 2012, after I lost my mother to cancer. Just after that, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, and I only returned to training in January 2016.”
Bonita has received quite a few accolades during her amateur boxing career, including being awarded the title of Female Boxer of The Year numerous times, and winning the Gauteng and Gauteng West Championships as amateur female boxer. “As a professional boxer, I was nominated for Prospect of the Year in 2018, but, unfortunately I did not win. Nevertheless, being nominated by Boxing South Africa is a huge achievement on its own,” she said.
Currently, she is preparing for the upcoming South African Lightweight Title fight, which will be taking place in October, and, to make sure she is ready for the challenge, she is training very hard with her trainer, Gert Strydom. “I train at the TapOut Academy in Randburg, five times a week, and in the mornings, before going to work, I run. My immediate goal is to win this fight, and then to go and fight overseas where there are bigger and better opportunities,” she said.
But, in order for her to realise this dream, she is in need of sponsorships. She said, “Female boxing is not big in South Africa, and I would like to get an opportunity to change that. I have been trying very hard to obtain sponsorships, but it seems to be impossible, and without any sponsors, I won’t be able to prove to people that women do belong in this sport.”
She added that she would encourage any woman who wants to take up the sport to go for it, and said, “It is not easy, but the reward is great. Do it for yourself and try your best. Boxing will clear your mind, keep you fit and keep you out of trouble.”
For more information, send an email to [email protected].
Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.
For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites