Smith welcomes isolation protocols but misses his family

Bio-bubble restrictions weigh on boxing trainer


Top boxing trainer Sean Smith says being in the bio-bubble feels like being in a jail cell.

Boxers, trainer and managers who will participate in TLB Promotion’s tournament at Klipspruit Sport Centre in Pimville, Soweto, this Saturday night entered into a bubble at a lodge in Randburg last Sunday. The tournament is organised by Joyce Kungwane.

“I feel like I am in jail; it feels like I have done something wrong, so I am being punished,” giggled Smith.

“I wake up in the morning, have breakfast and sit around. I can’t go home and see my family. It feels strange but we’ve got to make the most of it. Hopefully the virus will subside and protocols will become less so that we go back to the usual way.”

Thulani Mbenge and Mardochee Kuvesa Katembo will headline the programme with a 10-rounder for the vacant ABU welterweight title while Xolisani Ndongeni and Sibusiso “Prince” Dlomo will meet in a non-title eight-rounder in the junior welterweight division.

Kuvesa, from Congo, is trained in Johannesburg by John Tshabalala. The boxer last fought in August last year, when he drew with the vastly experienced Ghanaian veteran, Obodai Sai. Kuvesa has lost two of his 16 fights.

Ndongeni is the former IBO and WBF lightweight champion and has also not seen action since September last year. He has been matched with the dexterous Dlomo, who is known all too well by Smith. Dlomo, now trained by Charity Mukondeleli, gave Smith’s other boxer, Thompson Mokwana, trouble in their 12-rounder for the SA title. Mokwana retained  the domestic title via a majority points win in 2017. Dlomo is from Mzimhlophe in Soweto.

Smith said: “I am excited for Thulani and Nomeva (Ndongeni). They put in a lot of work, especially Thulani, who sparred with Isaac Chilemba (light heavyweight) and Patrick Mukala (super middleweight) and held his own against those big guys. If Thulani does in the fight what he’s been doing in the gym then good night.

"Ndongeni started the camp slowly because we were not sure if the fight would happen. But once everything was confirmed he got it together and worked very hard.”

Kungwane has included a female bout between Melissa Miller and Ellen Simwaka in her tournament. 

Action will begin at 6pm.

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