Mbityi stripped of his IBO title

ACCOMPLISHED boxing manager Mzimase Mnguni must be wondering how, why and when he lost the Midas touch.

ACCOMPLISHED boxing manager Mzimase Mnguni must be wondering how, why and when he lost the Midas touch.

Once the man with the most South African and world champions in the country, Mnguni's stable is now fast becoming like the Zimbabwean dollar - of little value. Now, the last valuable item at the Eyethu Boxing Gym in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, has also lost its currency after the IBO stripped Zolile Mbityi of the junior bantamweight crown due to lack of activity.

This comes barely a month after Mnguni's other champions - Macbute Sinyabi (SA junior featherweight), Zolani Tete (WBF flyweight) and Mfundo Gwayana (SA junior flyweight) - left to join Nick Durandt in Gauteng.

"Bonecrusher" Mbityi, at 39 the oldest active boxer in the country, lost his belt outside the ring. IBO representative in Africa Len Hunt confirmed yesterday that he was no longer their titleholder.

Hunt said Mbityi was stripped of the title two weeks ago.

"Mnguni pleaded with me," Hunt said. "I spoke with (IBO) president Edward Levine but his concern was that Mbityi had not fought since he won the belt on May 31 last year. IBO champions are given nine months to defend. Mbityi was given a six-month grace period but nothing happened. The IBO was left with no option but to relieve Mbityi of the belt. They felt it was unfair for contenders to be kept waiting."

After Zolani Tete's departure in May Mnguni said: "I would be worried if I lost champions inside the ring, but I am not because I lost them outside the ring to people who have connections in the business sector."- magaselab@sowetan.co.za

X