UFH’s Dila punches her way to silver despite damaged shoulder

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Vuyolwethu Dila, who won silver at the Mandela African Boxing Cup in Durban after dislocating her shoulder, is back in the gym. 


One hopes there is plenty of room for silverware in the home of University of Fort Hare’s champion boxer Vuyolwethu Dila.

The 23-year-old national representative recently added to her already impressive medal tally by placing second at the inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup in Durban.

Had it not been for dislocating her shoulder in the first round of the title fight against her opponent from the DRC, Benedicte Diyoka, the third-year BA student may very well have come home with the gold.

Nevertheless, the diminutive pugilist was more than satisfied with her performance at the tournament considering she had initially damaged her shoulder in her semifinal win against Namibia’s Ndapandula Ngesheya.

 “I picked up an injury in the semifinal but was cleared to fight in the final,” she explained.

“I was sure I was going to take the lady from Congo but then I dislocated my shoulder in the first few seconds of the fight. The doctor called it off after examining my shoulder and I had to rush to hospital.”

While financial constraints prevented some countries from attending, many African nations were represented, illustrating the magnitude of Dila’s achievement.

The Mandela African Boxing Cup had been scheduled to take place last year but was repeatedly postponed until a decision was made to host it in 2024 at Durban’s International Convention Centre.

Dila’s form in the ring has been something to behold for some time now.

In 2022, she won bronze at the World Student Boxing Championships in Turkey.

Last year, she reached the quarterfinals of the AFBC African Boxing Championships in Cameroon and was also named boxer of the tournament at a charity event in Mthatha.

The flyweight punched her way to her second consecutive USSA title in Cape Town in December, resulting in her being selected for the national student team.

 She understandably has taken some time off after dislocating her shoulder but returned to the gym on Tuesday.

“My injury has given me a lot of problems so I’ve just been resting a bit.”

That said, she is well aware that the National Boxing Championships are coming up at the end of June. While she is making sure not to rush her rehabilitation, she is determined to fight at the event.

There she will be part of the national team taking on competitors from the various provinces. At this stage, it is not clear whether the tournament will be hosted in Gauteng or the Western Cape.

Despite her injury, she believed a championship gold was well within her reach.

 “I understand the style of South African boxers and don’t see them as a threat,” she said.

“It is different when you fight against boxers from other countries because they are pressure fighters. Our boxers relax a lot more.”