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Tamryn "Cutwoman" Raynor

Tamryn Raynor Unleashed

Tamryn Raynor found her calling in a boxer’s corner where she will be when professional boxing returns next Saturday night

I’m more of a tomboyish girl. I used to climb trees, play soccer in the streets. To get me to wear a dress — yo, it wasn’t possible Adopted as an infant, Raynor studied boxing since falling in love with the sport aged 11, delving into fights of old legends from Sugar Ray Robinson to Roberto Duran ● Matric dance or work a boxer’s corner? Most schoolgirls wouldn’t think twice given that choice, but then again, neither did Tamryn Raynor.

She opted for the fight. “I had to make a choice so of course I was going to choose boxing over that matric dance last year,” said Raynor, who attends to the cuts of boxers in the corner. “I have no regrets.”

Pretty dresses, high heels and slow dancing simply don’t have the same allure as the blood, sweat and tears of the sweet science. “Even the blood. I love it,” said the 20year-old cutwoman who will be involved when professional boxing resurfaces at Emperors Palace on Saturday night, SA’s first tournament since the beginning of lockdown.

“I’m more of a tomboyish girl. I used to climb trees, play soccer in the streets with the boys and I was always dirty. To get me to wear a dress — yo, it wasn’t possible.” She found her skill in stemming bloodflows by accident. “I just happen to be good at it, it wasn’t like it was planned,” said Raynor, who is eager to start boxing in the amateurs next year to get some experience towards her long-term goal of opening her own gym.. She’s been learning at the knee of her trainer-uncle Lionel Hunter.

By the time she was 17 she was at the gym with him twice a day, training and sparring at Booysens in the mornings and then watching her uncle train professionals at Rocky Wainstein’s gym in the evenings.

“I was helping out and uncle Lionel saw I wanted to be involved,” added Raynor, who was adopted as an infant by a cousin of Hunter’s. He roped her in as an assistant trainer. Wainstein showed her how to close a cut and one day she was called upon to do it herself. “I managed to stop it.”

Since then she has perfected her own cocktail, which remains a secret. “I studied ‘Stitch’ Duran [one of boxing’s top cutmen]. I looked at what he was doing and what Rocky was doing, and got a mixture and I have my own stuff going on.” She and Hunter work the corner of cruiserweight Lebo Mashitoa, who takes on Keaton Gomes in a rematch on Saturday. Their first fight — the one Raynor skipped her matric dance for — was won by Mashitoa.

All the camps have entered a week-long bio-bubble at the casino resort near OR Tambo airport before the Golden Gloves tournament, which will feature the overdue final of the 4@War series between Brandon Thysse and Boyd Allen. Raynor has studied boxing since falling in love with the sport when she was 11, delving into fights of legends from Sugar Ray Robinson to Roberto Duran while keeping up to date with the sport’s latest stars.

She reckons some of the bouts on Saturday’s bill are tough to pick, including the main contest. Allen edged Thysse by a split decision in their 2019 bout, but this time Raynor is leaning towards Thysse.

“They’re both good boxers. Maybe Brandon, maybe. It’s 50-50.” Nobody’s betting against junior-welterweight Jabulani Makhense, but she’s tipping Roarke Knapp against Tristan Truter.

The winner of Mashitoa versus Gomes is scheduled to take on the victor of Akani Phuzi versus Chris Thompson, which is scheduled for December 12. That bout, for the vacant SA cruiserweight title, was removed from Saturday’s line-up because of injury to Thompson. Apart from boxing, Raynor has also assimilated Hunter’s love for pitbull terriers, having a five-month puppy of her own that her uncle insisted she name Marciano, after the former undefeated world heavyweight champion.

She prefers to call her pet Fufu for now. Raynor will let him grow into his boxing name, just like she’s developing in the sport.

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