Unbeaten Simba still being groomed

HEAVYWEIGHT sensation Flo "The Demolition Man" Simba will not be rushed into big fights, his manager Brian Mitchell said yesterday.

HEAVYWEIGHT sensation Flo "The Demolition Man" Simba will not be rushed into big fights, his manager Brian Mitchell said yesterday.

Mitchell said the unbeaten 21-year-old novice of only four stoppages in five fights was at a critical point in his career, notwithstanding his success since turning professional last year.

"It is important to groom him and not to throw him into the lions' den at a tender age. Age is still on his side," said Mitchell, who fought for the Transvaal title before going for national honours.

Mitchell made 12 title defences. He beat American Tony Lopez for the IBF belt in the US in 1991. Promoter Rodney Berman, who guided Mitchell's career, described Mitchell's route to stardom as the grooming that must be afforded to Simba.

Simba's ability convinced Boxing SA to give him the 2009 prospect of the year accolade. Most South African boxers who won this award became national and world champions and Simba has the potential to do the same.

The list includes Mitchell, Dingaan Thobela, Jan Bergman, Phillip Ndou and Bongani Mwelase.

Simba is trained by Harold Volbrecht, who honed Mitchell's skills after retiring as the longest-reigning national welterweight king.

"Simba should be ready for some serious opposition next year," said Volbrecht, who guided Philip Holiday, Corrie Sanders and Sebastiaan Rothmann to become world champions.

Simba will fight Nsitu Mbaya of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Golden Gloves Promotions' box-and-dine bill at Emperors Palace on July 28.

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