They’re the tag team of SA boxing, brothers in arms at tournaments all around the country.
But come Sunday at Emperors Palace and they will be in opposite corners plotting the downfall of each other, or at least their fighters.
Trainers Colin Nathan and Bernie Peilman have forged a friendship that goes back 10 years. They have travelled the world together helping each other along the way. It’s a relationship forged on mutual respect and a genuine liking of one another.
Yet the friendship will be set aside when Lerato Dlamini, who fights for Nathan, goes up against Sydney Maluleka, Peilman’s boxer, for the WBC International featherweight belt this weekend.
There’s been a fair bit of banter between the pair, Nathan quipping: “If Sydney gets a nosebleed, I’ll come help you out, or you help me if Lerato gets cut.”
Peilman, whose gym is on the Western side of Joburg, has worked with fighters like former world champion Malcolm Klassen and Sipho Taliwe.
Unsurprisingly, the pair have frequently come up against each other, most memorably when Ashley Dlamini fought Koos Sibiya, Peilman getting the upper hand then. He also spearheaded Taliwe’s defeat of Nathan fighter Joey Stiglingh six years ago.
“It’s all good,” said Peilman. “Friendship is friendship and business is business. Whatever happens, we’ll pick up things again afterwards. I’m just looking forward to the win though.”