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'Former champs need to train young boxers'

Ndou hooked up with his former trainer at the Hammer Gym

Lovemore Ndou during a training session at the Hammer Gym of veteran trainer Harold Volbrecht.
Lovemore Ndou during a training session at the Hammer Gym of veteran trainer Harold Volbrecht.

Former South African welterweight boxing king and now accomplished trainer, Harold “The Hammer” Volbrecht, says it won’t be easy for the sport to progress as long as former professional fighters are not involved in the training of fighters.

Volbrecht retired undefeated as the national champion with 19 defences. That record still stands. As a trainer, the now 64-year-old soft-spoken grandfather, guided many fighters to stardom – Phillip “No Deal” Holiday winning and defending the IBF lightweight belts six times, Sebastiaan “Soldier” Rothmann, who won the WBU and IBO cruiserweight belts and Corrie “Sniper” Sanders, who won the WBO heavyweight belt from Wladimir Klitschko in 2003.

Volbrecht made his feeling known yesterday and he directed it to Lovemore “Black Panther” Ndou who had a training session at Volbrecht’s Hammer Gym in Benoni.

Ndou is a former IBF junior-welterweight and IBO and WBF welterweight champion. He retired from boxing in 2012 and has made a switch to politics.

The successful Limpopo-born lawyer, who owns a law firm in Sydney, Australia, where he has lived since 1995, is running for the 2024 elections as an independent candidate.

Ndou has been in the country since last month. He took time off yesterday from Polokwane and drove to Benoni to have a training session at the gym of his former trainer.

Volbrecht was in the corner when Ndou defeated both Phillip “Time Bomb” Ndou and Bongani “Cyclone” Mwelase in Kempton Park.

“Why don’t you become a coach,” Volbrecht asked soaking wet Ndou after his sessions. The 52-year-old former world champ, who showed brilliant moves on the punching bag for eight rounds, said: “I don't have your patience.”

“This is the big problem; all these former good fighters retire and don’t come back to the sport and train fighters that will help produce more champions.

“Even Brian [Mitchell], he has a gym but he does not train fighters. I still say that to become a good trainer, you must have boxed yourself.

“These guys must share their experience with aspirant fighters. Look at Lovemore, look at how he worked on that punching bag, brilliant. Imagine him sharing that with a six-year-old kid; how will that boy be at 10 –  brilliant,” Volbrecht said.

Norman Hlabane, Phumzile Matyhila, Miniyakhe Sityatha, Tshepo Lefele, France Ramabolu, Sechaba Maboya, Makazole and Zolani Tete, Patrick Quka, Harry Ramogoadi, Springkaan Khongoane, Michael Modibeng, Abram Lubisi, John Tshabalala, Tello Dithebe and Shannon Strydom are some of the few former professional boxers who hone the skills of fighters.

Volbrecht added: “Anyway it was good to see Lovemore after such a long time; he is a family friend and good guy.”

Ndou said it is always good for people to remember where they came from in order to know exactly where they are going.

“I started out as a boxer with Harold; it’s great to see that he still teaches youngsters the sweet science of boxing at 64,” said Ndou, who retired with 49 wins from 64 fights. 

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