How broke Bungu blew R10 million

2010-11-07 11:18

Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu, the only South African boxer to retain a world title a record 13 times, is broke.

The country’s most distinguished fighter, who is said to have raked in more than R10 million in 17 world title battles between 1994 and 2005, this week confirmed his situation when he told City Press: “I am broke indeed.”

This shocking news comes straight after last week’s revelations that another former ring great, Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala, a four-times world champion, is seriously ill and cannot pay his medical bills.

Confronted with the allegations that he had squandered his fortune, Bungu denied that he had made R10 million, but in the same breath blamed the taxman and his mentor, Mzimasi Mnguni, for his diminished fortune.

“The taxman seized millions of rands when I retired in 2005 and that left me broke,” he said. “But I did not make R10-million and would have loved to have made that money.”

He then unleashed a devastating flurry against his erstwhile mentor, Mnguni, who was his trainer and manager. Bungu accused Mnguni of having swindled him out of a lot of money. “Whenever I was defending abroad, I fought without signing contracts and I was never told how much my purse was. When he finally paid, which was usually a month after the fight, how do I know that the money I got was what was originally negotiated? I never sat with Bra Mnguni and the promoter during my purse negotiations.”

Three-times world champion Masibulele “Hawk” Makepula delivered a coup de grace as he concurred with Bungu about the man who masterminded their immortality.

“After beating Bra Baby Jake (Matlala) in a world title fight, I put my foot down and told Bra Mnguni that from then onwards I would always be present when he negotiated for my fight with a promoter,” said Makepula.

Asked why they did not find out the value of their purses, Bungu said they regarded Mnguni as their father and respected him. “I don’t know how Bra Mzi was able to handle our fights without contracts being signed, but he did,” said Bungu.

Mnguni vehemently denied the two boxers’ allegations, and dismissed their utterances as sour grapes. “These men are perhaps making excuses for their poverty,” he countered.

“You can’t fight without signing contracts. How do they know they were fighting for money because they never mentioned it? These guys are very stupid and are trying to elicit sympathy from the people for their financial plight.”

Mnguni highlighted that the money they earned from their first fights until the last should have amounted to millions.

“They were known as men about town, living lavishly,” he said. “I made them famous and this is how they thank me.”

Rumour has it that Bungu bobbed and weaved, eluding the revenue department, but was later incapacitated by the taxman when he retired.

According to an insider, Bungu, who divorced his wife Buyiswa two years ago, landed in a financial quagmire after getting entangled with two concubines.

Alleged regular visits to expensive hotels and shopping sprees in fashion capitals such as Paris and London with his paramours, milked “The Beast”, who is now left broke.

His wedding six years ago (to Buyiswa) is said to have cost him about R650?000.

Asked about the alleged womanising escapades, he laughed, saying people spoke a lot of nonsense about him.

Bungu also denied engaging in any business deals, but sources within boxing insist that the former champion went on a spending and philandering spree and made suicidal business deals.

He dismisses the allegations as “vicious lies”.

Even though the unbeaten IBF junior featherweight kingpin is down, he says he is not out as he is a boxing trainer and motivational speaker.

He said he was getting married to Yoliswa Katise on November 27.

Perhaps this is evidence that though he might be on all fours, he is not as yet sprawled on the canvas and out for the count.

Two-times world champion Brian Mitchell, the first South African to retain a crown 12 times, said: “What a bad reflection on these guys (Bungu and Makepula). “How do you fight without signing contracts? They allowed themselves to be exploited.”

Three-times world champion Dingaan Thobela said: “I am surprised these men fought without signing contracts. No boxer can fight without signing contracts as far as I know. The local authorities need to give a clearance before you fight and this involves signing contracts. I was always part of the negotiations for my purse before every fight.”

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