Baloyi feels forgotten despite his achievements

Ex-champ keeps himself busy by training private clients

Cassius Baloyi.
Cassius Baloyi.

Cassius “Hitman” Baloyi is a broken man at heart.

Having dedicated his life to boxing, the one-time champion from Malamulele in Limpopo feels neglected despite his achievements.

Baloyi remains the only local boxer to win six world titles in three different weight divisions. Not too many people remember that because Boxing SA has never honoured him. 

Perhaps Baloyi is only remembered for being on the losing side against his friend, ferocious puncher Phillip “Time Bomb” Ndou in their energy-sapping fight dubbed “Fire and Ice” by Golden Gloves publicist Terry “Mr Ballyhoo” Pettifer.

It took place at Carnival City in front of more than 5,000 fans in 2001. Ndou, whose corner was manned by Baloyi's former trainer Nick Durandt, won the “Pound for Pound” belt which was specially designed by promoter Rodney Berman.

“I think people have forgotten that I fought everyone put in front of me,” said Baloyi.

Baloyi is not asking for handouts. He is renting a gym in Sandton where he trains private clients for a living.

“You know, when I was an amateur I beat a boxer from Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the World Championships in Germany. I beat a Nigerian in the semifinals and won the tournament after defeating a German,” he says.

“I was the youngest at 16 in that tournament. I was rated No 1 in the world in 1992. I automatically qualified for the Olympics in Barcelona. My dream of going to the Olympics was fulfilled, but I did not get there.”

He said he was at home when his father and trainer Eric Baloyi told him that a message was sent that Cassius would only accompany Team SA as a guest.

“I was heartbroken,” he said.

“No explanation was given. They took Fana Twala and Giovanni Pretorius who did not qualify for the Olympics. I then took a decision that once I finish my matric, I will quit amateur boxing. I was told to wait for the1996 Atlanta Olympics and was promised R1,000 every month if I stayed in the amateurs.”

Baloyi turned professional and won his first world title, the WB junior-featherweight belt in 1996. He went on to add the WBU featherweight belt, IBO and IBF junior-lightweight belts twice each.

Baloyi finally retired in 2012 with 37 wins, 19 knockouts, seven losses and a draw. He was later involved in a near-fatal car crash in 2016 and was hospitalised for two months. During that time he suffered stroke.

“Doctors said the left side of my brain was not OK, but I am able to walk,” said the 49-year-old, who runs the tough yet popular Soweto Marathon every year just to keep himself fit.

The man whose highest purse was R600,000 has advised young fighters to be in the gym whether there is a fight coming up or not.

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