Take a bow, SA boxing

2011-04-02 18:39

Takalani “The Panther” Ndlovu’s victory over Canadian Steve Molitor at Nasrec, Johannesburg, last Saturday was a historical feat for South Africa.

Ndlovu seized the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world junior featherweight crown from his two-time previous conqueror on a lopsided points win. The local’s achievement was a seemingly small step for an individual but a giant leap for the country.

Brian Mulder, the programme director on Saturday, left the fans euphoric when announcing: “The winner, and new champion is ...?”

In effect, this acknowledged that South Africa has, for the first time, four world champions from a credible body.

The other three are flyweight Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane, junior lightweight Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelitsha” Fana and mini-flyweight Nkosinathi “Mabere” Joyi.

Mthalane, who took to the ring immediately after Ndlovu, kept the number of four titleholders in place. He did this by successfully defending his title against Filipino Johnriel Casimero on a fifth-round technical knockout.

Another extraordinary feat is that the quartet’s exploit was masterminded by one promoter, Branco “Baby” Milenkovic.

South Africa and Milenkovic boast four champions from the IBF, one of the boxing world’s governing ­organisations.

Even though the country should celebrate this milestone, mentors are looking down their noses at each other.

Branco Sports Productions (BSP) and Golden Gloves Promotions (GGP) are at each other’s throats about “who has better champions”.

Trainer Nick “Mthakathi” Durandt said: “We (BSP) have four credible world champions and Elias Tshabalala (of GGP) and company don’t have one respectable champion.

“Our fighters are far superior and can whip these (GGP) fakes anytime. Every time we celebrate our fighters’ victories, Tshabalala, who has been unashamedly watching from the sidelines, often attempts to discredit us.”

Durandt’s outbursts came as a result of Tshabalala’s utterances that his boxers, Tshifhiwa Munyai and Gideon Buthelezi, could easily wallop Mthalane and Ndlovu. ­Tshabalala’s pronouncement was made immediately after Mthalane and Ndlovu’s victories at Nasrec.

On the same evening, at Emperors Palace, Munyai beat Danilo Pena of the Philippines to clinch the vacant International Boxing Organisation (IBO) junior featherweight title.

Tshabalala was not available for comment and their publicist, Brian Mitchell, said they didn’t need to vilify BSP to establish GGP’s warriors. “Durandt lives in an illusionary world because our fighters will never face theirs in the ring because they are handled by rival promoters.

“Anyway, let him dream on. It takes humility, not arrogance, to groom boxers and we will not entertain Durandt’s arrogance.”

Incidentally, Durandt, Tshabalala and Mitchell once belonged to the same camp as that of GGP promoter Rodney Berman.

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