Xolisani Ndongeni will go in blind in his non-title bout in East London next Friday.
Fighting on a Sijuta Promotions bill at Orient Theatre, Ndongeni fights experienced Emilio Norfat of Tanzania, who is a closed book to the Ndongeni camp.
“I’ve searched high and low for tapes. There’s nothing,” sighed trainer Colin Nathan, who subsequently shipped in a variety of sparring partners to ensure all their bases were covered.
“He’s fought mainly in East Africa and I have no way of unearthing what his style might be like.”
A professional since 2009, Norfat (25-7) has fought for a couple of marginal title belts. He also fought former WBO world champion Paulus Ambunda, so he has mixed in quality company.
“Nomeva” (20-0) has mixed up his sparring, using the talents of Tshifhiwa Munyai, IBO welterweight champion Tsiko Mulovhedzi and Sabelo Ngebinyana, the heavy-handed junior-bantamweight prospect,
Ndongeni has been with the HotBox team for a year now, having scored two KOs in three wins since, and the focus has been on making the adjustments necessary to improve his skill set. Rated number three by the WBA, he has every chance of landing a major fight before long.
Said Nathan: “We’re working on a couple of things, like shortening up his punches, specifically body shots. He’s a good learner. He hits hard when he sits down on his shots. I expect him to take care of business next week.”
Although Nathan’s immediate focus is on the East London assignment, he is aware of the bigger picture with the lightweight division one of the most exciting in boxing.
“It’s very dynamic, and here’s the thing: as long as Nomeva keeps winning, he can’t be denied. There’s Anthony Crolla, Terry Flanagan, Jorge Linares . . . in the US, especially, anyone from featherweight up is exciting.
“Nomeva must get the win, but he must also impress his promoter [Rodney Berman]. If a promoter is going to invest, the fighter must look the part. The promoter puts up the risk and the cash, so, yes, we have to impress people. Fortunately Nomeva is very dynamic, very flamboyant . . . he’s a great team player at the gym too. I want him to reach for the stars.’