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Nathan proud as Mthalane gets recognised

SA Sportsman of the Year award winner IBF flyweight champ Moruti Mthalane, right, with BSA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka.
SA Sportsman of the Year award winner IBF flyweight champ Moruti Mthalane, right, with BSA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Image: Supplied

Successful boxing manager and shrewd businessman Colin Nathan says he is ecstatic that his charge Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane became the first boxer to win an award at the annual SA Sports Awards that were held in Durban on Sunday.

These awards were initiated in 2004. Boxing began getting recognised by way of nomination in 2017.

IBF flyweight champion Mthalane is the third boxer to feature in these awards and walked away the Sportsman of the Year gong.

"I can't explain how I feel that finally a boxer has taken centre stage at these prestigious SA Sports awards," said Nathan who has been with Mthalane since 2017.

"I want to give praises to a fighter who is dedicated, loyal and class act inside and outside the ring. It could not be given to more deserving winner and credit to all the people who pushed hard for this to be a success."

Mthalane said: "I am very happy to represent boxing this way. This will motivate others to do well and it also motivates me to doing even better in future, especially knowing that I will defending my title in December."

Credit for his revival must go to promoter Tshele Kometsi who revived Mthalane's career in 2017 when the boxer had not fought for two years despite being the IBO champion. Mthalane was on the verge of being stripped of the belt.

Kometsi wrote to the IBO and requested the extension to defend. He staged Mthalane's defence which the boxer won at Wembley Arena with a fourth round knockout.

Kometsi also organised the IBF International fight which Mthalane also won by a stoppage in Mmabatho, North West.

That victory earned him a top rating by the IBF.

Nathan made it possible for Mthalane to fight for then vacant IBF strap which he won in Kuala Lumpur.

For his achievements, BSA honoured Mthalane, 37, with a special recognition award in May. The boxer has defended his IBF belt successfully twice in Japan where he will he will bid for the third defence against Akira Yaegashi on December 23.

Thulani "Sugar Boy" Malinga from Ladysmith, the first local fighter to win the WBC belt, was also presented with the Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement award. He ended the super middleweight reign of British star Nigel "Dark Destroyer" Benn in Newcastle, UK, in 1996.

Meanwhile, Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, who recently led the rugby team to the World Cup victory in Japan, walked away with People's Choice of the Year award while Rassie Erasmus was voted Coach of the Year.

The Sportswoman of the Year trophy went to swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker with the Spar Proteas winning the Team of the Year trophy after clinching African Netball Cup last month.

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