Fernandez out to destroy Klassen, says Durandt

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Nick Durandt has reacted with disgust to Manny Fernandez's alleged advise to Malcolm "The Stone" Klassen to rejoin his BRD stable in order to challenge Cassius "Hitman" Baloyi for the IBF junior lightweight belt.

"The same trainer described Peter Mashamaite as a problematic boxer when he left him for me. There were allegations that Malcolm does not know what he is doing half the time, but I have never had any problem with both these fighters since they joined me.

"My job is to train them, get them fit to win fights and that is exactly what all my fighters do. Manny is doing this to disrupt Malcolm's future," said an annoyed Durandt on Monday.

Klassen said Fernandez's allegations made him look bad to the boxing fraternity and fans. "Manny must concentrate on his boxers. I am happy where I am. All I want from him is my IBF belt - period," said the former IBF champion.

Klassen won that belt from Gary St. Clair in 2006 but lost it to Mzonke Fana the following year. The latter was in turn dethroned by Baloyi in April.

But Fernandez vehemently denied the allegations. "I was phoned by a journalist who asked me about the possibility of Klassen rejoining my stable in order to fight Cassius because Nick said that fight will not happen.

"I told the journalist that Malcolm told Gert Strydom, my assistant, that he cannot wait to fight Cassius," said the man who guided Klassen to winning both the South African featherweight and IBF junior lightweight world titles. "I was shocked when I got calls from people who read that story. They got it all mixed up."

Klassen left Fernandez for Durandt a few months after losing the IBF belt to Mzonke Fana last year.

Durandt guided the Toekomsrus-based fighter to the IBF's number one spot - a feat Klassen achieved last month after stopping Manuel Medina in two rounds.

Durandt had earlier said a fight between the two won't happen for as long as they were under his wing.