year belongs to durandt

THE year 2009 was a good one for some boxing trainers, yet it was the worst for Mzimase Mnguni.

THE year 2009 was a good one for some boxing trainers, yet it was the worst for Mzimase Mnguni.

Those who will look back on it with glee include Nick Durandt, Harold Volbrecht, Gert Strydom and Benny Pailman.

Durandt excelled, helping most of his champions retain their belts. But the prolific swearer's biggest achievement was producing three IBF world champions: Simphiwe Nongqayi, Isaac Hlatshwayo and Moruti Mthalane. Nongqayi won the junior bantamweight belt in Mexico, Hlatshwayo claimed the welterweight title in the US and Mthalane won the flyweight strap at home.

"Nobody can complain about three IBF champions in five months. I proved once again that I am the hottest property in South African boxing," he said straight up.

Strydom, who had previously deputised for Manny Fernandez, led Malcolm Klassen to victory for the IBF junior lightweight championship and guided Klaas Mboyane to the bantamweight title.

"It was a great one for us although we got screwed in two fights," he said.

Strydom was back in the gym five days after being stabbed 13 times and having his throat slit.

Veteran trainer Volbrecht produced triple champion Thomas Oosthuizen.

The 22-year-old won the IBO Youth light heavyweight and super middleweight belts, as well as the WBA Pan African super middleweight belt.

Volbrecht also guided Lovemore Ndou to the IBO welterweight belt and a first defence in the UK.

"I hope that 2010 will be better," he said.

Pailman, who partnered Strydom in the corner for the Klassen-Baloyi fight, assisted Sipho Taliwe to win the national junior lightweight belt from Strydom's charge Jasper Seroka.

"2010 here we come," Pailman said.

But for Mnguni, 2009 is a year he wants to forget.

Not only did his Eyethu Boxing Gym lose top fighters, but it also parted ways with trainers Vuyani and Dudu Bungu.

"As a promoter I did not produce youngsters and champions as I used to," said an emotional Mnguni.