Sowetan’s top contenders for the BSA annual awards
Live ceremony uncertain due to Covid-19
Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on boxing last year, forcing tournaments to be cancelled or postponed. The country lost promoters Thulani Magudulela and Andre Thysse, trainer Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, ring officials Alfred Buqwana and Neville Hotz, Boxing SA’s former KwaZulu-Natal provincial manager Les Andreasen and ABU SADC junior-lightweight champion Anthony Moloisane.
While most of these notable individuals died of Covid-19 complications, 30-year-old Moloisane and his girlfriend allegedly died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a braai on Christmas Day.
Despite tough Covid-19 conditions, some licensees in different categories soldiered on. It is unclear if BSA will have the annual awards to recognise individuals who excelled in their assignments. Sowetan has put together a wish list of deserving winners.
Matchmaker of the year: Abbey ‘Little Rock’ Mnisi
His understanding of the sport and aptitude to put together matches that talk to the fans has made him the sought-after matchmaker.
Prospect of the year: Phikelelani ‘Stinger’ Khumalo
The former professional footballer for DStv clubs Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows caught the attention of the fight fraternity and remains undefeated in four fights since making his pro boxing debut on December 19 2020.
Fighter of the year: Ludumo ‘9mm’ Lamati
His ability to overcome human hurricane Jose Martin Estrada Garcia on June 19 at Emperors Palace and the fact he is the only boxer locally who fought for a high-profile title last year – the IBO junior-featherweight belt – makes him the appropriate recipient of this award.
Fight of the year: IBO junior-featherweight championship between Lamati and Garcia
While it was an energy-sapping and punishing 12-round bout for the two boxers, it turned out to be an exhausting one for those who followed the action at Emperors Palace on June 19 on SuperSport. It had all the attributes for the fight of the year.
Most promising trainer of the year: Charity Mukondeleli
With little experience, he turned the misfortunes of journeyman Prince Dlomo around to help him win the SA junior-welterweight title. Mukondeleli also helped Ndobayini Kholosa, who had become a stepping stone, retain the SA lightweight title. The former pro boxer also guided Thato Bonokoane to the WBF Intercontinental junior-featherweight title.
Trainer of the year: Vusi Mtolo
Grossly undermined due to the fact he spent almost 20 years as an assistant to Colin Nathan before they parted ways in August, Mtolo did wonders with the help of Sechaba Mabuya last year. They produced an SA and IBF Continental Africa champion in Shervontaigh Koopman, as well as WBA Pan African holders Roarke Knapp and Lusanda Komanisi. Mtolo also trains Khumalo.
Upset of the year: Ayanda Ndulani vs Nkosinathi Joyi for the IBO minimum weight title
Ndulani (10-2-1) vs Joyi (28-5-1) seemed like a mismatch on paper. ‘Fireblows’ proved an apt nickname for Ndulani who demolished the former dual world champion in just four rounds.
Comeback of the year: Hekkie ‘Hexecutioner’ Budler
Budler bounced back three years after losing the WBA Super junior-flyweight belt to overcome Jonathan Almacen from the Philippines on June 22 to win the WBC Silver title.
Lifetime achievement award
Ron Jackson, doyen boxing writer and historian whose unwavering passion and commitment to boxing dates back to 1949, and Andre de Vries, who is a boxing historian, statistics and record compiler. De Vries is chairperson of the ratings committee.
Indefatigable administrator Phakamile Jacobs and veteran ring official Lulama Mtya.
Special recognition award
Pugilist maestro Rodney Berman, who still has a penchant for staging super shows despite having done it all in the past 40 years.
Best fight venue of the year
Booysens Gym, which has gradually become the home of boxing in Gauteng.
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