This video is part of TimesLIVE’s “On Shift” – a 10-part video series proudly brought to you by 1Life Insurance. Every Monday until the end of May, watch exclusive videos giving unusual insight into the lives and perspectives of people working in interesting professions in South Africa.
Cassius Baloyi, one of South Africa’s most famous boxers, holds eight world titles, fought at the Olympics and can throw a knock-out punch like none other. But outside the ring he has only ever had one fight, and that was in primary school.
Now retired from professional boxing, he runs a lively gym in Johannesburg. It seems he never gets tired – he is there every day to run near-constant training sessions. “The best thing about my job,” he says, “is that I don’t have a boss.”
Indeed, Baloyi is now investing in one of the main teachings of boxing – that of discipline.
When asked why people love to box, he says that when they visit his gym, he tells them to punch the bags until they drop. They leave “shaking” and tell him: “Before I started boxing, I was in a mess, but now I started boxing everything is gone.”
He uses the cathartic nature of boxing to mentor youths from communities such as Alexandra where “young people are smoking and drinking” – habits from which Baloyi abstains. In particular, he is training three young men whom he hopes to take to the Olympics one day, to bring “gold to South Africa”.
From champion fighter to gym owner, Baloyi has had an interesting career that started in rural Limpopo where his father taught him to fight. Now he seems content: “Every time I come [to the gym], I come happy. Or I come here, maybe I’m not happy [but] when I go home, I’m happy.”