Du Plooy and Bungu favoured for award

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Newcomers in the boxing profession of honing the skills of fighters Johnny du Plooy and Vuyani Bungu are both favoured for Boxing SA's Trainer of 2007 award.

The yearly ceremony will take place at Thabong community hall in Welkom on February 15. This glorification of personalities who did well last year, will be bankrolled by the Free State government.

Bungu and Du Plooy, who were caroused as fighters, have made an immediate impact in a short space of time.

They are nominated alongside Zola Koti, Jabulani Malinga, Eugene Khanyile, Rob MacLeod, Boyboy Mpulampula and Manny Fernandez.

But Boxing SA will cut the number down to five. Bungu and Du Plooy's achievements last year are above the rest.

Bungu, the former SA and IBF junior feather and IBO featherweight titlist, first produced an IBO champion on December 13 2002 when his charge Lunga Ntontela won the junior bantamweight against Edison Torres.

But at that time Bungu was operating from behind the scenes because he was still involved in the nobler art of pugilism as a fighter.

He retired in 2006 after losing the IBO belt to Thomas Mashaba and started training fighters on a full-time basis after that defeat.

He produced two SA junior bantam and junior flyweight champions in Zolile Mbityi and Mfundo Gwayana and WBF flyweight holder in Zolani Tete.

Bungu also played a pivotal role in the successes of Ali Funeka, the former SA and WBC International junior lightweight champion, who will fight for the WBC eliminator fight this year.

Meanwhile, Du Plooy, who started training professional fighters two years ago, produced four champions in the Baby Champs in 2006.

One of them is Bongani Mwelase, who won the SA and WBC International welterweight belts from Lucky Lewele on November 9.

Du Plooy has four finalists in this year's Baby Champs. He failed as a fighter to win the WBO and the SA heavyweight titles from Francesco Damiani and Corrie Sanders on May 6 1989 and July 17 1991.