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Away fights are no holiday for SA boxers

By unknown | Jun 23, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Many a times we are too quick to condemn local fighters for their defeats away from home without knowing or even bothering to investigate the probable cause.

This unfair practice, especially by the media, must come to an end.

But boxers themselves, assisted by their managers and trainers, together with promoters, must report back on their international treks.

We rely on international reports, and make our conclusion after going through boxers' fight records where scorecards reflected.

Vus'Umuzi Malinga could have been a victim of this unfair condemnation had he lost his fight against Veeraphol Nakhonluang in Thailand for the mandatory status to challenging for the WBC bantamweight belt.

He stayed in a dingy motel. Its windows did not open properly. It is summer there and it's very hot. The air is humid, so the air conditioner became his savior.

But the control buttons did not work, only the on button worked magic. The sound of that appliance was like a helicopter had landed on top of that truckers inn-cum-motel, which was infested with what seemed like sex workers.

It is winter here and Malinga suddenly found himself in a very hot summer. That is asking for flu. Falling asleep was a mission due to mosquitos.

They were not provided with insecticide or mosquito coils. But again those would have affected Vusi's lungs and surely he would have suffered from whooping cough.

I got sick on our arrival, Malinga's trainer and father Jabulani followed the next day. Assistant trainer Thulani Buthelezi survived, and Vusi had to move to his room to avoid sharing the room with a sickly Jabulani.

Driving to the gym meant that the car's air conditioner had to be switched on. The Malinga camp was allocated a classroom with about seven air conditioners on the day of the fight. Jabulani, Buthelezi and promoter Branco Milenkovic's prayers were answered - no matter what, Vusi must not get sick.

He started sneezing just after dispatching the legendary Thai in four rounds. I wonder what would have been said here had Malinga fallen sick, soldiered on but blown a rare chance of fighting for the prestigious WBC belt?


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