Ngobeni hangs up his gloves

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Former WBC International lightweight, SA and WBA Intercontinental junior welterweight champion Lawrence Ngobeni assumes a new role after announcing his retirement as an active boxer.

"I will assist my trainer Paul Tshehla in the gym," said the fine fighter from Tshehla's ABC camp in Witbank.

This gentle giant, who served boxing with aplomb for 16 years, retired last weekend after his shock third-round defeat, his fifth in 10 losses, by Mzukisi Mgidi.

"Bra Paul, who has been my trainer for 12 years, gave me his fullest support. I had a wonderful time as a fighter," said Ngobeni.

"Some boxers retired too late and as a result they never came back to impart their knowledge to aspirant fighters."

Attempts to get a comment from Tshehla drew a blank.

Ngobeni's decision came as no surprise, especially to those who witnessed his deteriorating form. This 35-year-old veteran of 45 fights had already become a stepping stone for unknown up-and-coming fighters.

His chin had become soft after countless wars, and he showed signs of weariness many times when he got tagged on the chin.

Pundits who saw him drop down like a pack of cards after being caught with a body blow by Mgidi last weekend approved of his decision to quit. Some of the prospects who used him on their way to the top were the late Zimele Mpusulwa, Sam Malinga and Jason Naule.

Another gentle giant who called it quits after realising that his chin had gone soft, is former SA, WBU and IBO cruiserweight champion Sebastiaan Rothmann.