Fans endorse Hilman as top promoter

PROMOTER Reggie Hilman seems destined to win Boxing SA's Most Improved Promoter of 2009 award during the yearly ceremony next month or in February.

This is the feeling of many fight fans who follow the fight game religiously.

They made their feelings known to Sowetan yesterday after being told that the ceremony will take place next year.

"We will finalise the date with SABC who are the broadcasters and then make an official announcement," Boxing SA chairperson Peter Ngatane said yesterday. There were fears that the event might be scuppered by Boxing SA's financial woes.

Fight fans were unanimous that the competition is stiffer in the Fight of 2009 category, while other categories such as the Most Improved and Newcomer and Boxer of the Year seem obvious. But they did not provide any list.

Sowetan instead compiled its own list of fights that deserve the nomination. They are:

The IBF junior lightweight bout between Malcolm Klassen and Cassius Baloyi; IBO Africa title fight between Hekkie Budler and Charit Mukondeleli; IBF minimum weight title eliminator between Nkosinathi Joyi and Florante Condes; WBF featherweight title fight between Takalani Ndlovu and Oscar Chauke; SA welterweight clash between Chris van Heerden and Boitshepo Mandawe; SA junior lightweight bout between Sipho Taliwe and Jasper Seroka; and the IBF flyweight title fight between Moruti Mthalane and Julio Cesar Miranda.

Fans tipped Hilman for the Most Improved Promoter's award.

With the help of Branco Milenkovic, he presented more national championship fights than other so-called "small" promoters.

The race is wide open in the Promoter of the Year award since Milenkovic, the busiest, is not eligible for nomination. He was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award last year. That is the ultimate.

Fans believe Patrick Malinga deserves the most sought-after Boxer of the Year accolade.

The current SA lightweight king won all his four fights with stoppages in less than five rounds.

But they did not rule out a dead heat with Simphiwe Nongqayi, who won both the IBF super flyweight title eliminator and the actual IBF title in Mexico against Francisco Arce and his older brother, Mexican legend Jorge.

They said the devastating punch by Mlungisi Dlamini that flattened Zolani Marali in the third round for the IBO lightweight belt deserves the Knockout of 2009 honour, while Reuben Rasodi deserves the Matchmaker of the Year award.