Mabunda, Nathan join forces

Trainer Kenneth Mabunda, white T-Shirt, Simpiwe Konkco, Hekkie Budler, Moruti Mthalane (red shirt) and HotBox Gym owner Colin Nathan.
Trainer Kenneth Mabunda, white T-Shirt, Simpiwe Konkco, Hekkie Budler, Moruti Mthalane (red shirt) and HotBox Gym owner Colin Nathan.
Image: Supplied

Unheralded boxing trainer Kenneth Mabunda - the man behind the humongous success of Nick "Mthakathi" Durandt - has joined the prolific Hotbox Gym of Colin Nathan.

Mabunda's potential enabled Durandt to produce the champions he had. But sadly, not even once was Mabunda's name mentioned anywhere near Durandt's successes.

Durandt trained Mabunda as a professional boxer before he retired undefeated in 1999. Mabunda then became Durandt's assistant and they worked together well for over 20 years until they parted ways a few years ago.

The soft-spoken Mabunda from Malamulele has found home at Nathan's establishment in Savoy Estate, east of Johannesburg.

Mabunda has reunited with Moruti Mthalane, who he trained to victory for the SA and IBF flyweight championships when the boxer was still with Durandt. Mthalane is the reigning IBF holder who will make his third defence in Japan in December.

Nathan said: "Next year we are bringing a new bunch of kids from the amateurs and others may not be from SA as you know that I attended the All Africa Games in Morocco in August and I had my eyes on a number of youngsters.

"My schedule is also crazy. With Vusi (Mtolo) helping me, we need an extra hand and I think Kenny has got the right pedigree. He fits the profile of our gym - humble, dedicated and hard-working. Kenny and Vusi get on very well."

Regarding the credit he did not get when working with Durandt, Mabunda, who joined Nathan last week, said: "If you are not in power, what will you do or say - nothing. It was hurting if I can tell you the truth. At one stage you reach a point where you just turn a blind eye to those things.

"Look, I was happy to be doing what I loved most, and that's training boxers, and I still like it even today. Not being recognised for what I did back then did not kill my spirit. I had to train boxers and I was able to fend for my family."

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