Locals warming up to national belts

Walter "Black Mamba" Dlamini, a 39-year-old veteran, recently became the proud SA middleweight champion. Many boxers, young and older, now want to become SA champions in their weight divisions like it used to be in the past. /Nick Lourens
Walter "Black Mamba" Dlamini, a 39-year-old veteran, recently became the proud SA middleweight champion. Many boxers, young and older, now want to become SA champions in their weight divisions like it used to be in the past. /Nick Lourens

The protracted fight to convince many boxers, especially young ones, to consider becoming SA champions first before they can fight for regional titles, has been won.

There is huge interest from boxers to become the pride of SA by holding a national belt. Typical example is 39-year-old Walter "Black Mamba" Dlamini who has gained second wind since capturing the SA middleweight belt.

Thato "Charisma" Bonokoane and Innocent "Tycoon" Mantengu are willing to forfeit their WBF Africa and IBF All Africa junior featherweight belts, respectively.

They will oppose each other for the vacant SA title in the main bout of Team Dida Promotions tournament at Kagiso Memorial Centre on Saturday evening.

In Uitenhage, Mziwoxolo Ndwayana has vowed to rather leave the ring at Indoor Sports Centre on a stretcher on Sunday because the SA welterweight title that will be on line against, Odwa Gaxa, is his family's meal ticket.

Ndwayana is also nursing a broken heart after his 11-months-old son died three months before Ndwayana won the national title against Sean Ness in September.

"This title means life to me. It enables me to put food on the table for my family. I just cannot allow it go away," he said.

The fight will headline a bill that will be organised by Mbulelo Mfama's Nyuswa Boxing Promotions.

Gaxa's trainer Kholisile Cengani is hopeful that Gaxa, who would be crowned the new champion if he wins - will not do what Khanyile Bulana and Ayanda Ndulani did to him. Cengani guided them to winning the SA featherweight and ABU mini flyweight belts, respectively, after which they dumped him and relocated to Johannesburg where Bulani joined Colin Nathan and Ndulani teamed up with Ricky Weinstein.

Former WBF Africa and ABU junior lightweight champion Koos "The Great Last Warrior" Sibiya, 37, still has the burning desire to hold the national title. Sibiya will challenge reigning champion Phila Mpontshana in Port Elizabeth on April 7.

Hopefully, many more boxers will start giving the SA titles first priority. That is how many boxers including the legendary Brian "The Road Warrior" Mitchell became known in the country.

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