Boxer faces Dlamini on his late child's birthday

Mhlongo vows to win in honour of his departed son

Nkululeko Mhlongo throws a punch at Emanny Kalombo at Edenvale Community Centre.
Nkululeko Mhlongo throws a punch at Emanny Kalombo at Edenvale Community Centre.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Nkululeko “Bull Dog” Mhlongo is not planning his son’s 21st birthday party, which will take place on December 20, but is, instead, sweating out in the gym preparing for the first defence of his WBA Pan African middleweight boxing belt against Walter “Black Mamba” Dlamini.

That is because Mhlongo’s son passed away last month. The fight will take place at Olive Convention Centre in Durban on December 20, the same day his son would have been turning 21. “The results from a postmortem are that he died of food poisoning,” Mhlongo said yesterday.

The stylish former SA junior middleweight undefeated champion from Eshowe in KwaZulu- Natal, whose fruitful career is guided by trainer Vusi Mtolo and promoter Lebo Mahoko, said fighting on that day would propel him to dishing out his best ever performance as a fighter.

Interestingly, Mhlongo will defend against Dlamini, whom he dethroned as both the SA and the WBA Pan African belts in Pretoria on October 10 last year. Their grudge fight will be staged by Nokwanda Mbatha’s Tono Promotion.

“I signed the contract wiping tears in Dundee, where my son was buried,” said Mhlongo yesterday. “I will be fighting to make him happy. That day is about happiness and celebrations to my family. I pity Walter for accepting this fight because every single punch I will land on him will be carrying heavy weight.

“My one side says I must beat him up badly and the other one says teach him the basics of boxing. I am not sure really what to do to him. I can beat Walter with one hand and actually stop him within 12 or 10 rounds.”

Mhlongo is popular among boxing fans for his unique style of fighting with one hand while hiding the other behind his back.

“Hopefully our fight will be on television since fans are banned because of coronavirus. I have the task of bringing joy to the faces of my family and that of the mother of my late son on that day. I must also teach [him a lesson] while I entertain fans who would have been at the venue because they always get value for their money when I am in action,” said the soft-spoken boxer.

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