gwazela 'heading for the grave'

NEVER SAY DIE: Nkqubela 'Ike' Gwazela has challenged Klaas Mboyane for the national bantamweight title. Pic: TSHEKO KABASIA. 27/03/2004.  © Sowetan.
NEVER SAY DIE: Nkqubela 'Ike' Gwazela has challenged Klaas Mboyane for the national bantamweight title. Pic: TSHEKO KABASIA. 27/03/2004. © Sowetan.

NKQUBELA "Ike" Gwazela's refusal to retire from boxing of his own accord could backfire on Saturday night when he tries to reclaim the SA bantamweight belt from Klaas Mboyane.

NKQUBELA "Ike" Gwazela's refusal to retire from boxing of his own accord could backfire on Saturday night when he tries to reclaim the SA bantamweight belt from Klaas Mboyane.

Gert Strydom, the champion's trainer, warned yesterday that Gwazela was heading straight where he belongs - to the grave.

"He will not rise again. If you are dead, you are dead. Klaas will actually hit the final nail in his coffin," Strydom said straight up.

Gwazela, who forfeited the national belt after testing positive for banned substances after his 11th-round stoppage of Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane in 2004, is still very young at 30.

But the after-effects of the wars he fought with Ncedo Cecane, Patrick Twala, Lindi Memani and Simphiwe Vetyeka have sent his career into decline.

Mboyane, who is aptly nicknamed "Iron Man", will be meeting the Mdantsane fighter at Orient Theatre for the second time. The 28-year-old champion from Limpopo stopped Gwazela in the 11th round to win the vacant national belt in August last year.

That fight was presented by Mzimasi Mnguni's Eyethu Boxing Promotions, which will also be responsible for Saturday's contest.

"We had only three weeks to prepare for the first fight, yet we stopped Gwazela. Now we have trained for 18 weeks. Gwazela is up against a super-fit and much faster Mboyane. Klaas sparred 400 rounds with guys in various weight divisions.

"That is how seriously he is treating this fight," warned Strydom who, with Benny Pailman, guided Malcolm "The Stone" Klassen to success in his IBF junior lightweight bout against Cassius "Hitman" Baloyi on April 18 last year.

Strydom was reacting to a warning from Mzimasi Mnguni, who said the boxing fraternity should brace itself for an upset on Saturday.

"I have brought back some so-called washed-up fighters to be champions," said the experienced Mnguni.

Gwazela, once a force to reckon with, will surely die fighting.

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