tHE RETURN OF mSHENGU

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Once glorified boxing mentor "Hezekia" Elias Tshabalala is back from a four-year break.

This is the man who revived the wilting career of the "Rose of Soweto", Dingaan Thobela, guiding him to the SA and WBC super middleweight belts in 2000.

The Free Stater who is based in Gauteng made an impression in 1984 by guiding Cassius Baloyi to the WBU featherweight belt against Sergio Liendo in the US.

Tshabalala, who also trained Sugarboy Malinga, Jacob Mofokeng, Silence Mabuza, Vincent Vuma, Osborne Machimana and Zolani Marali among a school of top name fighters, intends guiding Tshifhiwa Munyai to stardom.

"What a way of coming back. Munyai is a quality fighter who needs to be marketed well. I am confident he will hoist the South African flag higher internationally only if given the opportunity," he said.

Munyai did that in the UK in 2006. Taken by Briton promoter Frank Warren as a cannon fodder for his rising star, Martin Power, Munyai left Warren dumfounded by stopping Power in seven rounds for the Commonwealth belt.

Munyai, from Makwarela in Limpopo, defended against another British prospect, Lee Haskins, stopping him in four rounds in the UK.

The fighter, who was trained by Rob MacLeod, was voted the best international fighter by the British Boxing Board of Control.

The Commonwealth Boxing Council also awarded "Atomic Spider" with the Danny Mancini award.

Munyaiholds the WBA International bantamweight belt.

"I joined Bra Elias last Friday," he said yesterday.

They are using the Norwood, Johannesburg gym of Mick Castellan, who trains Philip "Time Bomb" Ndou.

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