UPDATE: Zulu Girl, whose real name was Phindile Mwelase, died tragically of a brain injury after being knocked out during a fight in October 2014. She was 31 years old. Rest in peace, Zulu Girl. I hardly knew you but I’m very sad that you’re gone.

Part 3 in a series about professional female boxing. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

If you read the first two entries in this sequence, then you already know that I think girl boxers kick ass. I hope you will bear with me as I show you one last set of ass-kicking girl boxing photos.

Two of the fighters who competed in last weekend’s professional women’s boxing tournament — Lillian “Lily” Molala and Phindile “Zulu Girl” Mwelase — are members of the Hillbrow Boxing Club. I went to the tournament to cheer them on.

Lily and Zulu Girl did not disappoint.

Lily, whose record was 4-6 before Saturday’s matchup, had the fifth fight of the evening. As her name was announced, I heard chanting and cheering in the hallway. A conga line of coaches and Hillbrow boxers emerged, flanking Lily on all sides. It was unexpectedly festive.

Lily and the other girls look happy and relaxed. Coaches George (left) and Dube (right) look ready to pass out from nervousness.

I didn’t get many photos of Lily’s fight. It was over too fast.

I would prefer to include a photo in which you could actually see the boxers’ faces. But my choices are limited.

Lily prepares to deliver an uppercut to her opponent, Thato Mohlala.

Forty seconds into the first round, Lily knocked out her opponent.

Done and dusted.

Lily stepped out of the ring and was engulfed by her teammates.

Moments like this are what make women’s sports great.

Zulu Girl’s fight was the last one of the evening, after the title matches. This time I was more ready for the pre-fight procession.

Zulu-dancing out to the ring. Once again, the girls are relaxed and George is nervous.

Zulu Girl’s record was 0-1 going into this fight. She was the underdog. Her opponent, Kholosa Ndobayini, was 5-1-1 and a former champion.

Zulu Girl fought hard.

Defense.

Zulu Girl knocks her opponent down. She did this twice but Kholosa got right back up.

Zulu Girl, you scare me a little.

I felt certain that Zulu Girl won this fight. But that’s the thing about boxing: Unless it’s a knockout, you don’t know the winner until that final moment of truth, when one of the two arms is raised into the air.

Zulu Girl lost. She kept smiling though, probably because she knows she did her best.

I’m so proud of Lily, Zulu Girl, and all the other women who had the courage to step into that ring. What a night. I left the Brakpan Indoor Sports Centre in a very good mood.

Girls kick ass.

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