boxers vie for 2008 crown

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Nkosinathi Joyi, the reigning IBO mini flyweight king, has been nominated alongside Ali Funeka, William Gare and Cassius Baloyi for Boxing SA's Boxer of 2008 award.

The winner will be announced in a ceremony at Carnival City, Brakpan, Ekurhuleni, on February 20. Boxing SA and SABC will co-host this event with this casino.

Nominations were made by the media, both print and electronic, as well as members of the public. But the winner will be decided by Boxing SA.

Joyi, a left-handed fighters special from Mdantsane in Eastern Cape, defended the international belt on two occasions last year.

He stopped Sammy Gutierrez in seven rounds and Lorenzo Trejo in two rounds .

Joyi is trained by Boyboy Mpulampula.

Meanwhile, it is assumed that Funeka was nominated purely on the basis of his stunning fourth-round victory over Zahir Raheem for the right to challenge IBF and WBO undisputed lightweight champion Nate Campbell next month.

That was Funeka's only fight last year.

Seasoned campaigner Gare rose from the dead last year by not only winning the WBF super middleweight belt but also defending it superbly twice against formidable opponents.

Subsequent to those victories, the Australian-based sanctioning body honoured the rejuvenated Sowetan fighter whose skills are honed by Johnny du Plooy, with a plaque for being its ambassador in Africa.

Yours truly tips Baloyi to walk away with the silverware. He made history when he broke his own record by claiming a sixth world title last April in Mafikeng.

Baloyi, the former WBU super bantamweight, featherweight, IBO (twice) and IBF junior lightweight titlist, achieved that feat after dethroning Mzonke Fana of the IBF crown.

World champion Baloyi, who is mentored by Nick Durandt, later overwhelmed Javier Osvaldo Alvarez in two rounds before forcing American referee Spark Lee to rescue the Argentinian from total destruction in the third round.

Interestingly Mpulampula, Du Plooy and Du Randt have been nominated alongside Jabulani Malinga and Dudu Bungu for the Trainer of 2008 award.

Logic dictates that if Baloyi wins, then Durandt should also scoop the trainer's award.