May 31 a day to cherish for Takalani Ndlovu

Takalani Ndlovu dethroned Anthony Tshehla via a stunning first-round knockout on May 31 2002. / Bafana Mahlangu
Takalani Ndlovu dethroned Anthony Tshehla via a stunning first-round knockout on May 31 2002. / Bafana Mahlangu

Takalani "The Panther" Ndlovu just cannot forget staking his claim as a professional boxer by winning the South African featherweight title almost two decades ago.

He is the product of veteran trainer Theo Mthembu of the famed Dube Boyz Club.

Ndlovu dethroned Anthony "Blue Jaguar" Tshehla via a stunning first-round knockout on May 31 2002. This day is also memorable to Welcome Ncita, Cassius Baloyi, Zolile Mbityi and Lwandile Sityatha.

Ncita registered the first defence of the SA flyweight belt with a stoppage against Kirk Morris in 1986, while Baloyi won IBF junior lightweight against Manuel Medina in 2006. Mbityi won the IBO junior bantamweight title against Hawk Makepula in 2008, with Sityatha defeating Siphosethu Mvula for the WBF junior bantamweight belt in 2014.

Tshehla had won the SA, ABU and WBC International belts after forcing 38-year-old veteran Jackie Gunguluza to quit in his corner going for the seventh round in 2001.

Said Ndlovu: "I was in a situation where if I did not challenge Anthony I was going to lose my top rating. I was scared to fight 12 rounds because I was still up-and-coming boxer. I took my chances and it paid dividends."

Ndlovu then won his first world title - the IBO junior featherweight - and added the IBO and WBF featherweight belts in his collection before dethroning Canadian Steve Molitor as IBF junior featherweight champion in 2011.

Ndlovu lives in Kibler Park with his wife and three children. He quit boxing in 2014 with 34 wins in 44 fights. The 42 year old former fighter is a personal trainer in Sandton, Johannesburg.

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