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Rise of Nathan – from bucket man to leading boxing gym owner

Trainer prides himself on hosting best boxers at his venue

Boxing trainer Colin Nathan.
Boxing trainer Colin Nathan.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Colin Nathan’s HotBox Gym in Balfour, Johannesburg east, has become one of this generation's most respected institutions in the fistic arts in SA.

Nathan, popularly known as “Nomakanjani”, rose from being a bucket man at an early age at the Sea Point Boxing Gym in Cape Town to being the youngest South African to own a boxing gym at the age of 22 in 2000.

Nathan has built a career that can be mentioned in the same conversation as his teacher  Freddy Roach, the legendary American who is widely regarded as one of the best boxing trainers of all time. He is also credited for the success of Manny Pacquiao.

Nathan started his No Doubt Management four years ago and it has ties with A-listers in the promotion of boxing. The list includes Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Matchroom of Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren, who trades under the banner of Queenberry.

His greatest pupil is Hekkie Budler, who won six world titles in two weight divisions. The crowning moment in both their careers was when Budler won two world belts – the WBA and IBF junior-flyweight titles – simultaneously in 2018. 

“HotBox Gym is the leading and strongest gym in the country,” said Nathan. “It hosts some of the most talented fighters in the country today. We also have the strongest coaching team in the country – Shannon Strydom, Johan Truter, Sean Ness and myself. This is the strongest that has ever been for No Doubt Management, which I started four years ago.”

He said No Doubt Management  has secured fights abroad for local boxers and worked with the likes of DAZN (the global live sports streaming service) and ESPN (US international basic cable sports channel).

“It has secured major legitimate word title fights and world title eliminators,” said the BSA 2017/18 Trainer of the Year.,

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