Lucky Monyebane has spent the past year re-evaluating his approach to boxing, and also dealing with an injury scare.
It’s been a year since he last fought, a crippling inside-the-distance loss to the underrated (and excellent) Phila Mpontshana for the SA junior-lightweight title. Later this month, on October 21, he will step back into the ring for a chance to reclaim past glories when he meets Paul Mangxilana for the Gauteng belt at Emperors Palace.
He’s had to recalibrate his ambitions, so the fight stands as an ideal opportunity to get back to winning and to establish where he stands domestically.
“He should have won, he was very disappointing that day,” said trainer Harold Volbrecht, who has made several adjustments in the interim, chiefly upping his punch rate and shutting down the posing.
More critically, Volbrecht has had to establish Monyebane’s willingness to fight. Always spurred on by his parents, the prevailing view is that the boxer fights more for them than for himself. Volbrecht must be convinced that his heart is still in it after the devastating loss to Mpontshana.
October 21 will thus tell him much.
Volbrecht will also be working the corner of 3-1 welterweight Tristan Truter, whose younger brother – “a little Sugar Ray Leonard”, according to Volbrecht – will compete at the SA amateur championship this weekend.
Truter, tall like stablemate Tommy Oosthuizen, spars with the celebrated cruiserweight and more than holds his own.
With luck, some of that magic rubs off on him as he prepares to fight Sibonelo Nzimande.