Nathan happy to be back after Covid battle in Russia

Promoter was hospitalised for four weeks

Boxing trainer Colin Nathan was hospitalised for four weeks in Russia after contracting Covid-19. He is finally back home after returning a negative test of the infectious virus.
Boxing trainer Colin Nathan was hospitalised for four weeks in Russia after contracting Covid-19. He is finally back home after returning a negative test of the infectious virus.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Boxing trainer Colin “Nomakanjani” Nathan is finally back home after spending four torturous weeks in a hospital ward in Russia.

Nathan tested positive for Covid-19 in Russia a few days before his fighter Ryno “The Lion” Liebenberg fought and lost to WBA gold super middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov on June 4.

After a series of positive tests, the 42-year-old trainer finally tested negative on Thursday last week. He spent a night at the hotel where he had stayed with Liebenberg while rescheduling his flight back home. He touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday.

“I broke down and cried when I tested negative,” an emotional Nathan said yesterday. “The thought, after a negative test, that finally I will see my family – my wife and my kids – brought tears of joy. At some point I thought I was not going to see them again. That is the impact of this virus.”

The globetrotter is now scared to travel.

The experience of being sick in a foreign country where little English is spoken most concerned Nathan.

“It’s crazy. You are in isolation because you have Covid-19. It makes it worse because you are in foreign hospital. I had pneumonia on my lung and then you can’t breathe; you are on the ventilator. And that is when death crossed my mind. You begin to think this is real,” he said.

“Travelling is the last thing on my mind. I am scared. My gym is shut for three weeks due to the spike of this virus. People must stop training and isolate. This is very serious. We’ve got to respect this virus. I knew I was going to get it but never thought I'd get sick because I am fitness fanatic. But man, there I was on a hospital bed for four weeks. So yes, I am back.

“I want to pay tribute to all [the staff at] the hospital unit where I was kept, especially the head of the unit. That guy luckily spoke English and he checked on me twice a day,” he said. “They were so wonderful. The news of Lehlohonolo Ledwaba’s death got me even more scared. The champ was 49 and I am 42. I began thinking 'am I next?' May the peaceful soul of Ledwaba rest in peace.”

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