Nathan part ways with Mtolo after 18 years

I asked Vusi to leave, says trainer

Azinga Fuzile with trainer Colin Nathan and assistant Vusi Mtolo.
Azinga Fuzile with trainer Colin Nathan and assistant Vusi Mtolo.
Image: Alan Eason

SA’s most fruitful boxing trainer and multiple-award winner Colin “Nomakanjani” Nathan has quelled rumors that his successful HotBox Gym is falling apart following the departure of his assistant Vusi Mtolo last week.

They had been together for 18 years. Nathan says it is true that the 47-year-old Mtolo has left the gym. “But one thing that I must clear is that I asked Vusi to leave,” explained Nathan yesterday. “I just could not help but ask him to leave; I could not let him assist my athletes any longer; we did not end it all badly and I wished him well in his future. I think Vusi is going to do well; I have wonderful memories.”

He maintains that his gym will remain the way it has been. It is understood that what irked Nathan more, besides the fact that Mtolo had consistently worked with promoter Rodney Berman who cut ties with Nathan few years back, was that Mtolo was confirmed last week as being one of the three trainers – Brian Mitchell and Jeff Ellis – in the newly opened Rex Ultimate Boxing Gym in Edenvale.

Mitchell manages few boxers and all of them fight under Berman’s Golden Gloves company. Ellis is Golden Gloves tournament coordinator. One of the boxers that Mtolo trained at Nathan’s gym is newly crowned IBO Youth junior middleweight champion Roarke “Razor” Knapp who is a regular in Berman’s tournaments. Mtolo would occasionally be assisted by Sechaba Mabuya in the corner.

Nathan is said to have teamed up with experienced trainer Kenny “Mr Jones” Mabunda, the former professional boxer, who played a pivotal role to the success of trainer Nick Durandt.

Asked to confirm or deny the rumour, Nathan was coy in his response. “Well, I can’t confirm or deny that,” said Boxing SA’s 2017 and 2018 Trainer of the Year Award winner. Attempts to get comments from both Mtolo and Mabunda were unsuccessful as their mobile phones were constantly off yesterday.

Nathan scribbled his name in the history books of local boxing by becoming the second trainer here to guide a boxer - Hekkie “Hexecutioner” Budler - to win the Ring Magazine belt in 2018. The first was Pappa Toweel, whose son Vic Toweel was presented with that belt in 1950.

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