Durandt in the dark over rumoured Nongqayi split

BOXING trainer Nick Durandt was thunderstruck when Sowetan informed him yesterday that there was a rumour doing the rounds that his prized fighter, Simphiwe "Golden Master" Nongqayi, had left his stable.

Sowetan was informed by a source yesterday that Nongqayi has left Durandt because of money issues. But the source, did not divulge any more information.

Nongqayi was flustered when approached by phone for comment yesterday and hung up before he was even asked to verify the rumour. He asked not to be contacted again.

"I am not happy with what you write about me in your newspaper and it will be good if you don't call me again," he said.

He did not answer his phone when contacted later.

Said Durandt yesterday: "This is the first time I hear this. Did he leave me? I don't know. I have not spoken to him yet. I expect him at training tomorrow (today).

"Like I said, I don't know what is happening so I can't comment on something that I don't know. But, to be honest with you, I'm not concerned about this rumour. If a boxer wants to leave my stable let it be. There are no handcuffs in my gym. I make champions. They don't make me."

The esteemed mentor also revealed that Nongqayi was still contracted to him, but would not immediately reveal when the contract would expire.

In a recent interview with Sowetan, Nongqayi said he was happy with the purse money he was getting since he was crowned IBF champion last year.

He retained his IBF junior bantamweight title when his fight against Malik Bouziane ended in a stalemate in France last month, but some international media were convinced the latter had done enough to win that fight.

He attributed his lukewarm display against Bouziane to his late arrival in France.

Nongqayi faces Alberto Rosas in Mexico for his mandatory defence at a date yet to be decided but the fight could be staged before August.