‘I respect him, he is a man’ – Cassper on his big Celeb City win against rapper Priddy Ugly

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Cassper Nyovest won his fight against Priddy Ugly and still insists he wants to go toe to toe with rapper Kiernan 'AKA' Forbes.
Cassper Nyovest won his fight against Priddy Ugly and still insists he wants to go toe to toe with rapper Kiernan 'AKA' Forbes.
Frennie Shivambu/Galloimages

They have been training tirelessly for the big day for months.

Rappers Refiloe “Cassper Nyovest” Phoolo and Ricardo “Priddy Ugly” Moloi spent most of their days with professional boxers and learning the tricks of the sport.

On 1 October, Times Square Arena in Pretoria was filled with supporters crossing their fingers for their favourites to not be knocked out.

Stanch Cassper fans bet their last cents on his win and Priddy Ugly supporters were sure he would win – he is an athlete and had been fit for most of his life. But the fight, meant to go for five rounds, lasted one round - two minutes, and some seconds.

The judges gave Cassper a technical knockout win after seeing Priddy Ugly struggle to stay on his feet. 

Without a single scar on his face, Cassper tells Drum that he is thrilled to have won this match after losing his previous one to singer Anga “Naak MusiQ” Makhubalo.

“Experience, skills and sticking to the plan, and being calm made me win,” Cassper says. 

“My plan from the beginning was to stay calm, build, work behind the jab, and don’t rush. In my last fight, I rushed, and I got tired. Had I been calm I would have been able to get the win. So, I learned from that. I’m definitely a power puncher but I am learning through experience to stay calm,” he says. 

In his previous fight, Cassper says he was nervous and panicked. 

“This time around I was nervous up until it was time to get on the ring. I was just fighting with my mind to not get excited and if I get caught, I shouldn’t get mad and angry.”

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When both parties agreed on the fight, Cassper weighed 106kgs which he whittled down to 89, and Priddy Ugly 74kgs. Cassper agrees that the weight difference between him and Priddy Ugly played a big role in his win. 

“The weight definitely worked for me, but again I am slower than him and he is fitter than me. So, we both had advantages and disadvantages. As much as I was 20 kg heavier, I had to lose 17kg because of the contract. So, it was harder for me to train. A day before the fight, I stopped drinking water for me to get on the scale.” 

During the fight, Cassper did not see the win coming. 

“I was chilled, I don’t remember a moment where I said, ‘go eat.' I was just thinking of relaxing and when the referee stopped the fight, I was unsure and hoped I understood him. I didn’t jump up and down,” he says. 

Cassper respects Priddy Ugly for getting in the ring with him when many like Prince Kaybee and AKA, whom he is eager to fight, turned him down. 

“Priddy Ugly’s got heart, man. This was the easiest fight to put together, he never tried to get out of the fight or make excuses, he compromised, and we made the fight happen,” Cassper says. 

“The weight thing was a bit unfair, and I’d love to see him fight someone his size as far as weight and he would make a great fighter. He is very athletic and has a very big heart. I respect him for that and have nothing bad to say about him.” 

The two rappers are not friends but have mutual respect and he hopes the critics will still have respect for Priddy Ugly for stepping in the ring and not backing down from the fight. 

“Priddy and I are not friends, but we have always been cordial towards each other. Critics will always have something to say, but he lost to a winner and not a loser. I am not going to be out here shoving it down his throat that he lost. Some of my fans will but it doesn’t matter. They can talk. I respect him, he is a man. I am 20kg bigger than him and I can do nothing but respect him. He should know he is a champion, no matter what people say. He should pick himself up and pat himself on the back for what he did tonight.”

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Cassper admits to being intimidated by Priddy Ugly’s physique in the beginning. “He is in better shape than me and for a longer time. He has always looked like that. I have been a fat kid most of my life and career,” he says. 

“Most of my life I was called J-Lo and so many names for my physique and going against someone who has always been fit was intimidating. I also saw a video of him hitting the bag and I felt the punch. His confidence also played into my mind, but I tried to relax.” 

For the fight, Cassper needed to lose a lot of weight. 

“I had to come down 17kgs and he did not. He could eat whatever he wanted, and I couldn’t. Carbohydrates play a big part in energy. I trained for two months without carbohydrates. It was not working for me, my arms were getting tired and that was my biggest disadvantage. For him, he knew he was fighting someone more experienced.” 

Cassper says this fight redeemed his career and brand. “We are back on top. I win so much that some people get excited when I lose. The Naak fight was very exciting for South Africa, and they can talk shit. But now, we are back on top,” he says. 

“Secondly, one of the biggest wins in South African boxing was on prime time TV. Millions of people watched and that is why I do this. I for it for the boxing culture. My trainers are professional boxers and I want to help people like them.” 

The turnout was as he had anticipated despite having lost some sponsors.

“The turnout was great. We had about 5000 people in the 8000 people venue. I am also happy about it airing on ESPN Africa, it’s a bigger channel as far as boxing reach,” he says. 

“A lot of people don’t understand that what those judges did by making Naak win killed a lot of enthusiasm around Celeb City. People bet a lot of money on that fight and they know who won but the results did something else. So, promoting this fight was hard because people felt I took money to lose the last time and they questioned how real this fight is.

"So, it was very hard to get people excited, and secondly, Naak didn’t wanna do the rematch and that’s the fight people wanted to see. It was hard to make the fight happen with sponsors dropping out because Naak didn’t want to get back in the ring anymore.”

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