Get to know Simangele "Smash" Hadebe
Kwa Tema native, Simangele Hadebe is making strides towards becoming a household name in the world of female boxing.
Simangele, also known as Smash, says her first introduction to boxing was the movie Million Dollar Baby starring Hilary Swank. The movie portrays an aspiring female boxer on the rise towards a professional career in boxing. It showed Smash that women could also participate in this predominantly male sport. Lionel Hunter, who trains Simangele, has described her as “an extremely hardworking and talented fighter who will go far.” Smash also has good things to say about Lionel, saying that he has a lot of faith in her as a boxer and doesn’t fear any opponent that they’re faced with. “He’s good. He believes in his boxers. He motivates us. He is always in our corner, literally and figuratively.”
Smash cites her power and ability to block punches as her main strengths whilst speed is the attribute she wishes to improve on. Her influence is Lucia Rijker, an unbeaten legend in both boxing and kickboxing.
When asked about her pre-fight routine, Smash said she listens to music to calm her nerves. “I like listening to anything that is high speed or has a sporty vibe to it. I pray before my fights and I reflect on everything I’ve learnt in preparation for the bout. She also prepares herself emotionally for the prospect of losing. “I go into every fight knowing that losing is a possibility. That’s why I don’t suffer that badly when I lose. It's easy for me to bounce back”, says Simangele.
Simangele says she has to sacrifice a lot in order to perform at the highest possible level. She says she must give up spending time with her loved ones and give up eating her favourite foods. “There’s a lot that goes into being a fighter. While everyone is asleep, I’m training. When I’m not training, I’m thinking about training. When I skip even one day of running, I begin to feel guilty. However, winning a fight after committing so many hours to training and eating the right foods makes the preparation process so much more worth it. People chanting my name when my hand is raised at the end of the fight makes it worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Boxing isn’t just about the acclaim though. Smash says she wants to be remembered not only as a World Champion of Female Boxing but also as someone who shows humility. She also wants to be remembered as someone who fulfilled her social responsibility. “When I hang up my gloves, I want to work with children who are less fortunate because that’s where our education begins. I want children to start off on the right note and motivate them to stay healthy. I’m also thinking that at some point in life I’d like to be a promoter.”
Having a good support structure is part of Smash’s success! She says that although her mother never thought Smash would be as good as she is, she is very happy that Smash has succeeded in something that she is passionate about. Her brother, who is also an aspiring boxer, is Smash’s biggest fan and always makes arrangements to watch his sister in action!