Boxer of the year a tough call

BOXING South Africa's voting committee is faced with the Herculean task of voting for the 2009 boxer of the year.

BOXING South Africa's voting committee is faced with the Herculean task of voting for the 2009 boxer of the year.

The competition is stiff. Interestingly, the battle for the celebrated award seems to be between stablemates from Nick Durandt's camp.

They are fighters Simphiwe "Golden Master" Nongqayi and Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane.

They both performed outstandingly last year when they won the IBF junior bantamweight and flyweight belts.

Yours truly tips Nongqayi due to the fact that he achieved the feat under difficult circumstances outside South Africa's borders. Mthalane was not subjected to a hostile crowd when he won his belt here at home against Mexican Julio Cesar.

Kaizer Mabuza's two impressive defences of the SA junior welterweight title, as well as his win for the IBF Intercontinental light welterweight belt in the Ukraine, stands him in good stead for nomination.

Meanwhile, Johnny Muller should pip Flo Simba and Luzuko Siyo for the top prospect award. They all have a bright future ahead of them but Muller has more fights and wins than the two.

The competition is also tight in the fight of the year category. Fights that deserve nomination are the IBF junior lightweight bout between Malcolm Klassen and Cassius Baloyi, Mthalane vs Cesar and the SA featherweight championship between newly-crowned champion Sabelo Jubatha and Thando Vukuza. The Klassen-Baloyi clash was historic. It was the first world championship here between stablemates. That alone carries more weight in the fight of the year stakes.

They were trained by Durandt, who has no stiff competition in the manager's section. Butityi Konki comes close for having taken boxing to another level but he is still new to the game.

The ceremony will take place at St Georges Hotel near Pretoria on Friday and the proceedings start at 5pm.

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