The Beast hon­oured by IBO

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IM­AGES

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