ndou hits the jackpot

Bongani Magasela

Phillip "Time Bomb" Ndou has punched his way to fortune, says his promoter Rodney Berman who was reacting to his charge's fifth-round stoppage win over Rachid Drilzane in France on Saturday night.

This lanky fighter from Makwarela in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, made a resounding comeback after being inactive for four years.

"He punched his way to a monstrous pay cheque in the months ahead," said Berman in a statement yesterday.

Berman was at the ringside. Ndou is likely to get a six-figure purse in the planned fight.

"Phil looked great after such an extensive layoff and remembering that the tough-as-teak Drilzane really came to fight and wasn't overawed by Ndou's reputation as a former WBU junior lightweight champion," said Berman.

"Phillip executed his plan to perfection and while there was no undue haste about the manner in which he finished off the brave Drilzane, his right hand uppercut was again the match-winning ticket, much like it was when he knocked out Carlos Rios to lift the WBU junior lightweight crown.

"On the agenda is an outing on ESPN television where Ndou has already been guaranteed premier billing."

Ndou, 31, retired in 2004 because of a cyst in his brain after his points defeat to Isaac Hlatswayo.

Ushered to war by new trainer Michele Castelan, Ndou increased his knockout ratio to 31 from 32 wins against three defeats.

His fight with Drilzane was the main supporting bout to the IBF featherweight championship between holder Cristobal Cruz and Cyril Thomas.

Mexican Cruz, who retained the belt, is promoted jointly by Berman and American Art Pellulo of Banner Promotions.

Berman said Cruz, who ended the reign of Thomas Mashaba as the IBO champion on March 7 last year, underlined his worth as a bona fide world champion.

He announced that Cruz or Fernando Beltran Junior will be headlining a bill at Emperors Palace within the next four months.