Mnguni's love for boxing stays strong

Mzimasi Mnguni receives BSA's lifetime achievement award in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening. / Nick Lourens
Mzimasi Mnguni receives BSA's lifetime achievement award in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening. / Nick Lourens

Boxing is a disease and there is no cure for it.

This is how best to describe the fondness for the fistic sport that was demonstrated by iconic former boxing trainer, manager and promoter Mzimasi Mnguni.

The wheelchair-bound Mnguni, 69, was recognised with the lifetime achievement award during Boxing SA's awards at Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

"I still wish to continue promoting fights. Fortunately, our MEC for sport in Eastern Cape [Pemmy Majodina] and the provincial government supports us promoters," said Mnguni.

"I realise that my time could be gone but I would dearly love to produce more champions."

He brought the audience to tears after being helped to the stage to deliver his speech.

While lying in a hospital bed, Mnguni still gave instructions to Phila Mpontshana, who went on to win the vacant SA junior lightweight belt with an 11th-round stoppage of Lucky Monyebane in Johannesburg in September.

Mnguni paid tribute to all the boxers he trained and managed.

"While I made them champions, they made me respected too," he said before thanking promoter Rodney Berman whose Golden Gloves guided all his fighters to world championship fights.

Their first champion was Welcome Ncita, who won the IBF junior featherweight belt from Fabrice Benichou in Israel in 1990.

Mnguni's illustrious career was cut short by poor health. He suffered his first stroke in 2014.

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