Bullies, beware! Boxing trainer Jodi Solomon is coming after you

Jodi Solomon wants to take boxing classes to schools

14 April 2019 - 00:00 By DAVID ISAACSON

Jodi Solomon has faced bullies for much of her life, so it's no surprise she and her boxers have started a campaign against bullying.
The idea was sparked while they were chatting after a Johannesburg pupil was stabbed to death recently.
"We were all just talking and we were all discussing our personal experiences with bullying," said Solomon, who went to three schools in her first two years of high school because of bullying.
She has already e-mailed 20 schools around the city offering to make her fighters available to give talks, possibly even classes.
She has grandiose plans of one day rolling out her #BoxingAgainstBullying campaign far and wide.
Climbing mountains is nothing new for her. Solomon, the only woman trainer in SA, has had to prove herself in a male-dominated sport - over and over again.
This year she manned the corner of her one fighter, Denis Mwale, in a six-rounder, which he won. Afterwards one of the two male commentators, impressed with the performance, congratulated the boxer's manager, who had assisted in the corner.
Perhaps Solomon was invisible.
She does pretty much everything a man would do, from taking her fighters on the pads to devising fight strategies.
But earning respect is harder when one is a woman, it seems.
Solomon started out as a manager more than a decade ago and she's long lost count of the times she's heard rumours of how she supposedly slept her way to success.
And if they're not accusing her of abusing her female wiles, they're hitting on her. One longtime figure in the sport, with a few drinks inside him, once asked for a kiss.
"I told him 'sure, I'll kiss you - straight after you've kissed every other boxing manager in this country'."
Solomon worked hard for two years to make contacts abroad so Isaac Chilemba could ultimately get a world-title shot."I was phoning overseas every single day. There were so many nights I used to sit there crying out of frustration. E-mailing and phoning and not getting through or talking to people 'ja, I'll get back to you' and they never did."Eventually I got in touch with Jackie Kallen - believe it or not the first female boxing manager in America - and her and I became friends."For Chilemba's title shot against Sergey Kovalev in 2016, Solomon picked up the role of coach, putting him through old-school training techniques like chopping wood and smashing concrete.That fight also led to her partnership with Roy Jones junior, whose name adorns her gym in Craighall Park.The 45-year-old mother-of-two fell in love with the sport after she started working out in a boxing gym in her early twenties."I would have fought if I could have, but there was no women's boxing [then]."She had enjoyed boxing since she was a kid, watching fights on TV."I don't know where it came from because nobody in my family ever watched boxing."Solomon, who was adopted as a child, later discovered her biological father had been a useful amateur fighter.Her adoptive father was a bully. "He was extremely emotionally abusive ... I always said if you could live with my father you could deal with any man in boxing."..

There’s never been a more important time to support independent media.

From World War 1 to present-day cosmopolitan South Africa and beyond, the Sunday Times has been a pillar in covering the stories that matter to you.

For just R80 you can become a premium member (digital access) and support a publication that has played an important political and social role in South Africa for over a century of Sundays. You can cancel anytime.

Already subscribed? Sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.