Faith opens new doors for Hunter

Champ Walter Dlamini and Hunter.
Champ Walter Dlamini and Hunter.
Image: Nick Lourens

When one door closes, the other one opens but what is key is to have faith in God.

This is how Gauteng boxing trainer Lionel Hunter summed up the challenges he had trying to get fights for his boxers.

A former feared bouncer who used to be known as the Don of the South, Hunter boxed professionally and fought the likes of Sakkie Horn, Freddie Rafferty, Solomon Zuma and Prince Tukane.

In his spare time some years back, he single-handedly looked after three nightclubs simultaneously in the notorious Rocky Street, Yeoville where he put many troublemakers to sleep with his fists. Suddenly he started going to church and today he is a pastor who doubles as a boxing trainer.

In his recent challenges with Faraday Mukandila, Hunter said: "We were offered a fight in Botswana but sadly Mukandila was turned back at the border gate. That was a bitter pill to swallow for both of us. It is difficult to encourage a boxer to continue coming to the gym without a fight. So when I was offered that fight in Botswana, I said thank you Lord."

But the authorities did the unexpected at the border gate.

"Was it because Farady is from Congo, I kept asking myself," said Hunter. "I prayed and God responded with an offer from 5th Elements Promotions and we fought last weekend."

Mukandila handed the previously undefeated Ukrainian Denys Lazarev his first defeat, stopping him in five rounds.

Next week, Hunter jets out to Germany where his other charge, SA middleweight champion Walter Dlamini, will oppose that country's IBF Youth champion Wanik Awdijan for the vacant IBO International belt on July 6.

"He is looking very good and has [had] wonderful preparation," said Hunter.

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