'I take blame for Khaya's loss'

Khaya Busakwe unleashes a blow on Brendan Naude.
Khaya Busakwe unleashes a blow on Brendan Naude.
Image: Alaister Russell

It takes a real man to realise that he made a mistake, but an even better one to try to make things right.

Renowned veteran boxing trainer Norman Hlabane has said that he takes full responsibility for the loss of Gauteng lightweight boxing rookie Khaya Busakwe to Dennis Mwale at Turffontein Racecourse last weekend.

Busakwe from Jabavu in Soweto was involved in his sixth fight. He had won his previous five fights by stoppages.

Mwale from Malawi, who is trained here by Steve Castle, was involved in his seventh pro fight. Mwale has boxed 31 rounds. Busakwe got knocked out in round five.

"We as a team, we are taking the blame for the loss that we suffered over the weekend. Khaya was overmatched," said Hlabane, who claimed he did not even get to see the opponent's record. "I was contacted when the matchmaking was already done."

Abbey Mnisi, who is doing that job for promoters, said he does not understand why Hlabane was saying all this because Busakwe's career is guided by TLB Promotions of which one of the owners is Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, who assists Hlabane.

"I was always in communication with Baba Hlabane, so it is news to me to hear that he was not happy about the matchmaking," said Mnisi yesterday.

Hlabane said: "I was very uncomfortable when we got to the pre-fight medical on Tuesday. It was too late for me to make changes.

"I went into the fight already disturbed. Even my children at home picked up that something was not okay with me, because I was very much concerned about Khaya.

"I noticed as early as the third round that Khaya was in trouble and I told him that I wanted to stop the fight.

"He asked me to give him one more round and
that's when he got knocked out. We've got to think for these boys; we can't throw them in."

However, the general feeling was that Mnisi did a sterling job as a matchmaker.