THE death this week of legendary boxer Mveleli Luzipho and negative public opinion is a double blow for top-rated bantamweight fighter Nkqubela Gwazela as he challenges for the national title tomorrow night.
Luzipho was to man Gwazela's corner against Klaas "Iron Man" Mboyane amid a clarion call for him to call it quits while he had his wits about him.
Promoter Mzimasi Mnguni has said Lunga Sikhonyela will be in charge of Gwazela's corner when he challenges Mboyane at East London's Orient Theatre. Mnguni said everyone at his Eyethu Gym was grieving.
Limpopo's Mboyane won the title in August last year after stopping Gwazela in the 11th round. The champions, whose skills are honed in Gauteng by Gert Strydom, defended successfully against Cleutus "Pac Man" Mbhele on November 20.
Mboyane's grudge fight with Gwazela will be presented by Mnguni's Eyethu Boxing Promotions. Mnguni's company was in charge of the first fight, at the same venue.
Luzipho's death could motivate or destroy Gwazela, whose career has declined.
Mboyane, 28, has 12 wins, six losses and two draws while Gwazela, 30, has 18 wins against seven defeats. The fight will be televised on SuperSport. The broadcast time will be determined by the outcome of the undercard fights, which start at 8pm.