Paper tigers slated

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Trainer Jerry Phukuje has blamed the current policy of sending ordinary fighters abroad for their failure in the international arena.

He said the old system of forcing boxers to prove themselves at home first before attempting to conquer the world had worked magic.

"That is how boxers such as Gerrie Coetzee, Peter Mathebula, Jacob Matlala, Dingaan Thobela, Brian Mitchell, Welcome Ncita, Vuyani Bungu and Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, to mention but a few, became world beaters. They first proved themselves here at home.

"But it's a different story altogether today. Most fighters today have deceiving fight records which makes them look good, yet they fought nobody," said Phukuje.

The former professional fighter helped the supposedly washed up William Gare to end the reign of Peter Mashamaite as the SA super middleweight king in June.

"Look at most SA title fights that took place late last year and this year. A lot of them had no spark while others ended in the first or second rounds.

"But if you recall what happened in similar fights years back, there was no guarantee who would win whereas today you know the winner even before you go to a venue."

But Boxing SA's public relations officer Loyiso Mtya, a former SA "non-white" junior middleweight champion, believes that local boxers, who have gone overseas, reflect the kind of standard South Africa has currently.

"We send boxers that we believe are international material," he said making an example of Takalani Ndlovu, who lost to Steve Molitor for the IBF junior featherweight title, recently.

"He is the best that we have and he did not lose because there are better boxers than him. I believe that there has to be a total review of our training methods."

Old-time trainers such as Theo Mthembu, Carlos Jacamo, John Sepheko, Allan Toweel (all late), Willie Locke, Richard Letsatsi, Isaac Sithi, Bokkie Martins, Norman Hlabane and Mzimase Mnguni all made it by producing the best boxers of yesteryear.