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COLOURFUL IBF bantamweight champion Simphiwe "Golden Master" Nongqayi has rejoined trainer Lennox Mpulampula, who trained him as an amateur.
Mpulampula, Boxing SA's 2008 trainer of the year, confirmed this yesterday. "He joined me last week," said the man in charge of promoter S'Phatho Handi's Mdantsane-based Enothole Gym.
But Nongqayi's contract with Nick Durandt expires in May next year and he will still be promoted by Branco Milenkovic, who has a cordial relationship with Handi.
The latter's gym, where Mpulampula is the head trainer, boasts IBF mini flyweight holder Nkosinathi Joyi, WBF bantamweight holder Lubabalo Msuthu and SA super flyweight holder Themba Joyi. Mpulampula, who trained Nongqayi in the SA National Amateur Boxing Organisation squad 10 years ago, said the move would boost the morale of his other charges.
Nongqayi has been with Gauteng's Durandt since 2008 and their divorce has been shrouded in mystery. The fighter was not available for comment yesterday.
"He never said anything to me," said Durandt, who guided Nongqayi to four defences of the WBF belt he won under trainer Elias Tshabalala in 2007.
Durandt was also in charge when Nongqayi won the IBF title eliminator and the IBF belt from Mexico's Arce brothers, Francisco and Jorge, in February and September last year.
Nongqayi retained his belt by a whisker last month after his fight with Malik Bouziane in France was declared a draw.