box-and-dine for Sugar boy

IN HIS PRIME: Boxing legend Thulani 'Sugar Boy' Malinga. Pic: Veli Nhlapo. 27/07/2000. © Sowetan
IN HIS PRIME: Boxing legend Thulani 'Sugar Boy' Malinga. Pic: Veli Nhlapo. 27/07/2000. © Sowetan

GOLDEN Gloves Promotions boss Rodney Berman announced yesterday that he will present a box-and-dine boxing tournament on September 10 with the purpose of raising funds for Thulani "Sugar Boy" Malinga.

GOLDEN Gloves Promotions boss Rodney Berman announced yesterday that he will present a box-and-dine boxing tournament on September 10 with the purpose of raising funds for Thulani "Sugar Boy" Malinga.

This boxing legend from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal - the first South African fighter to win the lucrative WBC belt - is down and out.

So much so that this year he remembered a debt he seemed to have forgotten for all these years. Malinga told Sowetanin May that Berman owed him more than R500000 for a world title fight that took place 13 years ago.

Malinga, 54, a born-again Christian, said: "God has told me to advise Rodney Berman that now is the time for him to pay me my $75000 (about R590000)."

Berman denied owing Malinga the money and said that Malinga needs help.

The promoter and trainer Nick Durandt masterminded Malinga's historic WBC super middleweight title victory over Nigel Benn in Manchester in 1996.

According to Berman, he is not staging the boxing tournament he termed "The Festival" because he is owning up to the alleged credit.

Rather, he said, this was his way of extending a helping hand.

"It will be a black-tie affair. Tables will be sold and boxing memorabilia will be auctioned.

"Look, as Sugar's former promoter, it is only humane that I help him out, " he said.

A delighted Malinga was at a loss for words on hearing about the event.

In his time, the humble Malinga fought big-name foes including Chris Eubank, Roy Jones Junior and Robin Reid, and made lots of money.

But his financial woes started when his mansion in Benoni burnt down in a tragic incident in 2000. His nephew, toddler Sabelo Malinga - who was trapped inside the house - burnt to death.

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