Young fighter’s dream to stage a comeback put on hold

Westridge lightweight fighter Ashton Whiteboy takes a breather during a training session at home.

Born into a boxing legacy, it was almost a given that Ashton Whiteboy, 28, from Westridge, in Mitchell’s Plain, would want to follow in the footsteps of family members who had made the name Whiteboy synonymous with boxing in South Africa.

Exposed to the sport at an early age, he’s part of a new generation of promising Cape fighters looking to restore the sport to its former glory.

With nine professional fights under his belt – six wins (two knockouts and four via points decision) and three defeats – a bright future beckons the lightweight fighter.

Set to make his comeback in a junior welterweight bout this month, after a two-year lay-off, the young Whiteboy’s dreams were dealt a major blow when the fight was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

His disappointment is understandable as it put on hold months of physical and mental preparation. Although controversial at times, boxing has been called beautiful and brutal, all in the same breath – but staging a professional bout, can also be complicated.

It’s not uncommon for rival camps to engage in pre-fight banter long before the fighters step into the ring. The worst thing that can happen is for fights to be called off. But when it’s on, it’s on.

So it’s not hard to imagine the young fighter’s disappointment when his comeback fight was no longer on the cards. This time round it was not the result of contractual disagreements but the dreaded Covid-19.

“Boxing runs deep in my blood. I’ve been in the ring since I could walk,” he said.

“As much as I’m disappointed that the fight has been called off, I understand that the pandemic is a serious matter and I’m fully aware of the circumstances that we are in as a country, as a nation,” he said.

“Yes, I am disappointed that the fight was called off, but I’m fully willing to play my part and stay home. I don’t think that should put you off if you are in any type of sport. As for myself, I’m keeping fit, eating healthy and keeping my mental health in shape… and of course, doing what I love to do.

“Although our circumstances have changed, my schedule has not. I still work out twice a day and working on my craft because I believe this pandemic won’t last and we’ll get back to business.”