Boxing Snippets

Mnguni to be honoured in SA boxing’s heartland

Nkosinathi Joyi and Simpiwe Konkco with the great Mzi Mnguni.

Boxers, trainers, media and assorted fighting types came out in their droves yesterday for the official announcement of the tribute tournament to Mzi Mnguni, hosted on the East London beachfront.

The excitement was palpable as promoter Rodney Berman confirmed that two great sons of the Eastern Cape will clash in honour of the boxing titan at the famous Orient Theatre on November 20.

SuperSport and Golden Gloves have come together to stage the tournament in tribute of Mnguni, the trainer and patriarch of more than a dozen world champions and many others over a career spanning 30-plus years.

Mnguni, who attended despite being wheelchair-bound, was delighted and said he was deeply honoured by the initiative.

Among those who attended were boxing luminaries Zolani Tete, Vuyani Bungu, Simphiwe Vetyeka, Welcome Ncita, Bongani Silila, Xolisani Ndongeni, Phakamile Jacobs and a host of others.

Fittingly, IBO strawweight champion Simpiwe Konkco (15-5, 7 KOs), who hails from Mthatha, will defend his title against Nkosinathi Joyi (26-4, 18 KOs) of Mdantsane, one of the most successful local fighters of recent years.

mzi-posterBoth command large followings and are sure to pack out the Orient Theatre, which has a charm and vibrancy all of its own.

Konkco shot to fame on the back of a tremendous fight against countryman Hekkie Budler last year. It was his introduction to a large national audience and although he lost a points decision, he showed the guts and style that would see him win the championship a few months later.

Now based in Johannesburg, he has won 10 of his last 11 fights and will likely start favourite against the veteran Joyi.

But southpaw Joyi is as tough as they come. He is a former IBF champion who has long enjoyed a place in the division’s top 10. In a 30-bout career he has only lost once to a South African (Budler) and is planning to recapture old glories by upsetting the Konkco freight train.

“This is a case of two big-hearted boxers putting it all on the line,” said Berman. “Fighting in their back yard provides an entirely different dimension: local bragging rights are important to both and I’m expecting a cracking fight.”

One of Mnguni’s protégés, Giovanni Bushby (7-4-3, 5 KOs), will headline the undercard against SA super-middleweight champion Lee Dyer (6-3-1, 5 KOs) for the All-Africa title.

Bushby, who hails from East London and is fondly known as “the white who can fight”, is a firm favourite in the Eastern Cape, his all-action style popular with the discerning home fans.

He will find a willing accomplice in Dyer, who shocked Belimo Weliya for the SA title in Queenstown a few months ago.

The Eastern Cape featherweight title will be on the line when Lwandisa Zinto (12-8-1, 9 KOs) and Aphiwe Masangwana (2-1, 1 KO) fight over 12 rounds.

There will also be a four-round junior-bantamweight battle between Sipnamondla Mkhambaphi and Andile Nxayiphi.

Many festivities are planned, including a parade of many of the finest fighters associated with Mnguni, among them Bungu, Ncita, Mbulelo Botile, Lindi Memani and Zolile Mbityi.

“We are planning a joyous occasion befitting a man of Mr Mnguni’s stature,” said Graham Abrahams, head of Regulators Affairs at SuperSport. “He is a heroic boxing figure whose skill as a trainer and mentor are unparallelled.”

The tournament will be broadcast live on SS7 and SuperSport Select from 2pm on November 20.

Tickets cost R100 and will be available at the door.

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