Ntsele faces his bogeyman

2011-12-10 20:32

Despite a recent tragedy, national flyweight champion Doctor Ntsele could bounce back and perform at peak levels when he defends his title against Mkholisi Bhonxa.

Ntsele’s previous title challenger Anele Makwelo died three months ago after losing in a technical knockout in the 10th round.

According to Yoga Coopoo, an associate professor in the department of sport and movement at the University of Johannesburg, this may be apparent in Ntsele’s next fight.

The learned professor’s assertions will indeed be tested in the fight at Uitenhage Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday.

Makwelo, who made his unsuccessful title bid in Bloemfontein, passed away at Universitas Hospital after his fateful battle.

Ntsele said he had the ability to recover from the disaster because what happened was “an accident that could happen anywhere, anyhow”.

Coopoo, whose discipline includes sports psychology, said Ntsele’s attitude could be key in his recuperation.

He said: “It sounds like Ntsele’s belief signifies that he is a realist, who is psychologically tough and may be unaffected in his next fight.”

But he emphasised that the boxer’s gradual return to mental strength would be transitory if he did not engage in counselling in a serious manner.

“The fighter may be awakened to reality during the festive season, with consequent negative affects if he ignores counselling.”

Asked how counselling could be what the doctor prescribed, the professor pointed out that sessions would help Ntsele cope with being in the boxing ring.

“He needs behaviour therapy that will teach him how to adapt to the tragedy, relax and transform his thinking,” he said.

Ntsele’s mentor Lehlohonolo “Hands of Stone” Ledwaba stressed that his charge had assured him that he was strong, and “counselling was unnecessary”.

Meanwhile the champion’s upcoming adversary, Bhonxa, laughed when asked if he was not intimidated at the thought of facing Ntsele, taking into account the outcome of his last fight.

Bhonxa said: “What happened does not scare me. I have been longing for the opportunity to face a challenge.”

Brian Mitchell, among other boxers, suffered the same fate 26 years ago when his opponent, Jacob Morake, died after their national junior lightweight title fight at Sun City.

However, Mitchell subsequently became the first local to successfully defend a world title 12 times. Two-time world champion Mitchell said Ntsele should focus on his career, rather than the recent setback.

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