Ndou says BSA must worm its way to get within Hall of Fame structures

Fight for Bungu to be inducted, BSA urged

Vuyani Bungu celebrates after defeating then IBO featherweight champion Takalani Ndlovu on points during his heyday.
Vuyani Bungu celebrates after defeating then IBO featherweight champion Takalani Ndlovu on points during his heyday.

The pain of seeing SAs accomplished boxer Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu being ignored for the induction to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York will keep bugging South Africans until Boxing SA lobbies for the country’s greats to be recognised.

Bungu holds the record 13 defences of a world title – the IBF junior featherweight belt he vacated to challenge for the WBO featherweight title. But to the outside world – especially to members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the International panel of boxing historians who cast their votes –  Bungu’s achievements mean nothing.

Voters are from England, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the US, and the general feeling among locals is that BSA must worm its way in that structure so that they lobby from within.

So far Brian "Mean Machine” Mitchell remains the only local boxer to be inducted. He defended his WBA junior lightweight title 12 times. 

Bungu was nominated to be inducted last year. He was included in the modern ballot for 2020 with Jorge Arce, Timothy Bradley, Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales, Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, Sergio Martinez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Tarver, and Israel Vasquez. Bungu did not make the cut. Hopkins, Mosely and Marquez made it.

His exclusion has irked retired IBF junior welterweight and IBO welterweight champion Lovemore “Black Panther” Ndou, whose achievement earned him an induction in the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame last year.

Ndou said the incoming board of Boxing SA to be appointed by sport minister Nathi Mthethwa this month must lobby for local boxers.

“It is very sad to see Vuyani being treated this way,” he said yesterday. “The whole thing just does not make sense because here you have a champion with more defences than Brian Mitchell but he is being ignored for the induction.

“That is why I say BSA must in future take this fight upon itself. Clearly, somebody lobbied for Mitchell to be inducted. The likes of Bungu, Welcome Ncita, Dingaan Thobela and late “Baby Jake" Matlala should be inducted by now if BSA had been doing its job properly and lobbying for them. BSA needs to live by its code of conduct; its responsibility should go beyond sanctioning fights.”

Bungu’s fights against Jesus Salud and Kennedy McKinney were named fights of the year in 1996 and 1997. He was the King Korn/Boxing World Boxer of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998. 

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