Mnguni in a fix over exodus of champions

Mzimase Mnguni's last hope of having a pedigreed boxing stable is in serious trouble, after the departure of lone champion Mfundo Gwayana.

Mzimase Mnguni's last hope of having a pedigreed boxing stable is in serious trouble, after the departure of lone champion Mfundo Gwayana.

The famed Eyethu Boxing Gym in Mdantsane, East London, once the home of such luminaries as Vuyani Bungu and Masibulele "Hawk" Makepula is in danger of closing shop.

This after Gwayana defected to Mnguni's rival, Nick Durandt last week.

A few weeks ago, Durandt's establishment in Gauteng attracted Zolani Tete - also from Mnguni's stable.

Gwayana is the South African junior flyweight champion while Tete holds the WBF flyweight strap.

Gwayana retained his belt in a draw two weeks ago after sharing spoils with Durandt's fighter, Sizwe Sinyabi, another Mdantsane fighter from the famed Eyethu Gym where all these pugilist were trained by the Bungu brothers, Vuyani and Dudu, as well as Mveleli Luzipho.

Attempts to get comment from Gwayana and Mnguni were unsuccessful yesterday.

Mnguni - who during his heyday as a mentor guided an army of fighters including Welcome Ncita, Bungu, Mbulelo Botile and Zolani Petelo to winning and defending IBF belts more than five times - told Sowetan last week that:

"I am not losing champions inside the ring but outside the ring because somebody has connections in the business sector - so he is able to lure them with money."

His stable is now left with one champion, the 39-year-old Zolile "Bonecrusher" Mbityi. The latter, probably the oldest active boxer who holds the IBO super flyweight title. Ali "Rush Hour" Funeka is still a strong part of Eyethu gym.

Durandt said: "I don't lure fighters with money. I deliver futures to fighters. This is my business and not a hobby.

"I don't own the biggest Spar chain store as he does in East London. Boxing is my ATM."

Durandt lost fighters, Zolani Marali and Isaac Chilembe to Colin Nathan while Simphiwe Vetyeka and Cassius Baloyi joined Welcome Ncita and Manny Fernandez, respectively.

But his establishment in East London where Mhikiza Myekeni and Khulile Makeba train aspirant fighters has 16 fighters, while the one in downtown Johannesburg has 48 pugilists.

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