Year of verbal wars

2009-12-19 15:43

RATHER than involving a flurry of fists in blurred leather some of the fiercest fights of the year were fought with the tongue as the main weapon.

Words flew in all corners as the verbal wars – mostly between rival promoters Rodney Berman and Branco Milenkovic – took centre stage.

Trainer Nic Durandt, who has had to endure the pain of seeing no less than nine fighters leave his stable within 12 months, did not mince his words either following an acrimonious fall-out with Berman in November last year. Earlier in the year, when presented with claims Berman had made, Milenkovic described Berman as not being ­generous with the truth.

“That man is a big liar. If he says good morning to you you must first go outside to check if it is still morning,” said the Branco Sport Production (BSP) boss.

But Milenkovic was at the receiving end later this year when he accused Berman of triggering a tarnishing tirade from Baby Jake Matlala, who left BSP amidst claims of having been used and being owed millions.

“I swear if his wife cooked bad food he would say I had something to do with it,” said the Golden Gloves head.

A classic was delivered by Durandt, who had had enough of jetting out of the country and then coming back to find his stable one fighter less.

“Every time I go overseas all these rats and cockroaches come out to steal my fighters,” he complained.

Zolani Marali was the first to dump Durandt last November while the trainer was in Las Vegas. Then followed Isaac Chilembe in April this year, Isaac Hlatshwayo in August and both Daniel Bruwer and Zolani Tete in September while Durandt was in Panama, the US and Mexico respectively. Other fighters who have left include Cassius Baloyi, Takalani Ndlovu, Simphiwe Vetyeka and Leli Mbilase.

“People marry on a daily basis and people divorce on a daily basis. You can look around in both my gyms – there are no handcuffs,” said Durandt.

Asked about the possibility of rolling out the welcome mat for any of the fighters, Durandt said: “They closed the door and it will never reopen. They chose their path and must know that I am not a one-night stand.”

The trainers who were joined by the departed fighters also bore the brunt of Durandt’s displeasure.
“I do not have relationships with trainers.

“The only people I have a relationship with are my wife and kids.”

Durandt also said there was no possibility of reconciling with Berman.

When he returned from Mexico with IBF junior bantamweight champion Simphiwe Nongqayi, whose victory over Jorge Arce was preceded by ­triumph against his younger brother, Fransisco Arce, Durandt said: “Maybe we need to bring their father out of ­retirement because there is no Arce left to take on Nongqayi.”

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