Fury in the ring keeps peace in the streets


When Lucky Nhassambo’s father left, everything changed. Nhassambo lost his hero. Ambition turned to confusion, hate and rage, emotions that built up over the years. He moved from Soweto to Hillbrow, where his peers glamourised gangsterism and crime. Bereft of outlets, and with scant opportunity, Nhassambo went down a wayward path.

“Not having a vision and not feeling positive about my future led me to crime,” Nhassambo says. But what could have been the start of a downward spiral instead led him to an initiative that changed his life. Nhassambo joined Fight with Insight, a Laureus Sport for Good project that reforms youth and young offenders through boxing. The sport is more than just a temporary distraction. “If I hadn’t been boxing, I’m 100% sure I would have been in prison or probably dead,” Nhassambo says. In the ring, boxing students work through the anger and aggression that often fuels crime with the support of in-depth therapy sessions. While boxing may appear to be a violent sport, it requires patience, the willingness to accept the referee’s decision, and the ability to understand when a fight is over – all vital to a reformed life.

“Boxing taught me how to fight for a better future for myself,” Nhassambo says. While nothing can undo the hurt of his childhood, Nhassambo has found a way to move past the anger, and focus on building his own happiness. “I’m more enlightened now,” he says. “I see things differently.” Nhassambo is focused on mentoring the next generation of youth that pass through the organisation’s doors. His choices and maturity are proof that real strength lies in our minds. “Stand for what you are and stand for what you want,” Nhassambo says. “It’s never too late to make a positive change.”