High praise for Marali

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Zolani Marali can become the finest junior lightweight fighter in South Africa since the days of Brian Mitchell, says Rodney Berman

"Right now South Africa has no better talent at the weight than Marali, and I include the likes of Cassius Baloyi, Malcolm Klassen and Mzonke Fana in my appraisal," said Berman.

"Moreover, Marali's power and inbred instinct has defined him as a boxer with an immense future and I'm looking forward to him ruling one of the credible governing body roost within the next few months."

But Berman's statement may be motivated by bitterness. Baloyi, the IBF champion, and Klassen, who are both trained by Nick Durandt, left him for Branco Milenkovic.

South Africa has had great fighters in that weight division, including Anthony "Blue Jaguar" Morodi, Nkosana "Happyboy" Mgxaji, Chris Whiteboy, Jacob "Dancing Shoes" Morake, Dingaan "The Rose of Soweto" Thobela and Philip "Time Bomb" Ndou.

Berman would not even say what must happen for the lanky Mdantsane fighter, who bolted Durandt's stable for Colin Nathan a month ago, to reach the top.

Berman's publicit Terry Pettifer, a renowned analyst, said Marali must form a fundamental relationship with Nathan, and be kept busy.

"He must fight internationally three to four times a year. At 31 Marali is not getting younger," said Pettifer of the WBF belt holder.