Participation in the boxing tournament to honour fallen hero Lehlohonolo Ledwaba next Sunday matters more to Tsiko Mulovhedzi than his opponent – Namibian Harry Simon Junior – because he approaches it as a therapy that will help him find closure with the death of his former trainer.
“He sent me a voice note that touched my heart before he died in July last year. He encouraged me to train hard because he said he believes that I will be a world champion again, and then he said his breath was running out," Mulovhedzi said.
“That was a day before I learnt that he was gone. So, this fight next week is for him. I don’t care who is my opponent; I want to do it for Ledwaba and I hope after this fight doors will open again for me; I promise you now, it’s going to be a war next week.”
Affectionately known as ”Cruel Junior”, the former SA welterweight champion from Vhemvhe in Limpopo will best be remembered for ferociously ending the reign of Ali Funeka as the IBO champion. He dropped five before the fight was finally stopped in the fifth round in 2015.
He made a single successful defence before adding the IBF Intercontinental belt to his collection. But his wayward style of living took over and his career suffered badly. He is trying to resurrect it.
Trainer Charity Mukondeleli said: “This fight will determine Tsiko’s future. I studied some of Harry’s fights and there’s nothing special about him.”
Mukondeleli has produced two champions since he started training fighters alone in 2020. He was the understudy to successful veteran trainer Bernie Pailman – who was Mukondeleli’s mentor when the latter was still active as a boxer.
Mukondeleli’s champions are Sibusiso “Prince” Dlomo (SA junior welterweight) and Thato “Captain Charisma” Bonokoane (WBF Intercontinental junior featherweight).
Mukondeleli is on the verge of producing a world champion when Bonokoane opposes Argentinian Diego Alberto Ruiz for the actual WBF belt in October in a tournament that will be organised by J4Joy Promotions which staged both Bonokoane’s defences in Mpumalanga.