The Beast honoured by IBO
South Africa’s most accomplished world boxing champion, Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu, has captured another knockout win – this time outside the ring. He has been appointed by the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) to be its special ambassador for Africa thanks to his efforts to put the continent on the map during his illustrious career as a pugilist. The 49-year-old, who is now a trainer, previously held the IBO featherweight championship belt for almost a year. This was after he made an unprecedented 13 successful defences of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) diadem, which he won in 2009. No other South African boxer has so far accomplished such a feat. Bungu’s elevation to represent the IBO – whose head offices are in Florida, US – makes him the first African fistic personality to be bestowed with such an accolade. He will be the organisation’s face of Africa. IBO president Ed Levine said in a letter to Bungu this week that the East London-based mentor would be tasked with overseeing world title bouts on the continent. “I’m delighted that you have accepted your new position as IBO ambassador for Africa. I wish to personally welcome you to the IBO team,” said Levine in the letter.
He said the global body was looking forward to working with The Beast for the “betterment of boxing in Africa, and to further the recognition of the IBO as the standard for integrity and honesty in boxing”.
An ecstatic Bungu said he was honoured to have been afforded the plum role of developing boxing in Africa. He said he was looking forward to giving it his best. “I will be attending more fights in Africa, where I will be motivating boxers who fight for IBO crowns,” said Bungu.
“I’m happy that IBO saw potential in me and believe I have done well by winning their title, and that I was the first South African boxer to make a record 13 successful IBF title defences.
“I will be sitting by the ringside at most bouts, where I will be motivating boxers during big fights. It’s great to be recognised in this way.”
Bungu won the IBF belt from American Kennedy McKinney by a unanimous points decision at the Carousel Casino, Hammanskraal, in 1994. He vacated the spot in 1999 after a great run. Bungu captured the then vacant IBO crown by beating Takalani Ndlovu by a split-points decision at Carnival City, Brakpan, in 2004. He surrendered the belt to Thomas Mashaba in 2005.
Since then, Bungu has been shaping the careers of young pugilists in the Eastern Cape.
One of his protégés is Makazole Tete, holder of the IBO intercontinental flyweight title.
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