Boxers show devotion to ailing Mnguni
The Eastern Cape is expected to come to a standstill on Sunday when ailing boxing trainer Mzimasi Mnguni is honoured.
A world title fight to be held at Orient Theatre, East London, will be dedicated to him.
Topping the SuperSport and Golden Gloves five-bout bill, dubbed The Tribute, will be the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) strawweight championship between champion Simphiwe “Chain Reaction” Khonco and challenger Nkosinathi “Mabhere” Joyi.
Both these boxing icons are from the same province, Eastern Cape.
Mnguni (67), arguably the country’s first black trainer to produce many world boxing champions in the province, is fighting for his life at his East London home. He was involved in a car accident in 2013 and has not been well since.
Among the pugilists Mnguni steered to world glory are Welcome “The Hawk” Ncita and Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu, both of whom won International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight titles, and Mbulelo Botile, who became the IBF bantamweight title holder.
This feat brought the Eyethu Boxing mentor national and international acclaim as the producer of great boxing talent.
The organisers have decided to stage a showdown, with proceeds to be donated to his family. The fighters said they would get into the ring for the sake of the man affectionately known as Bra Mzi.
Khonco’s title will be at stake. The 30-year-old Mthatha champion won the then-vacant crown after beating Siyabonga Siyo by a unanimous decision at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, in June.
Chain Reaction comes into the ring with a fight record of 16 wins and five defeats from 21 fights.
“This fight means a lot to me and I need to win it for the great man, Bra Mzi himself,” said the confident Siyo. “I have trained hard and will knock out Mabhere.” Mabhere (33), who hails from Mdantsane, is an experienced campaigner, having won 26 times, with four defeats from 30 outings.
He said he was determined to depose the champion in honour of Mnguni.
“Mr Mnguni, who comes from the same township as me, inspired me to become a boxer,” Joyi said.
“I owe it to him to win the crown from Khonco, who won’t last the full 12 rounds.” He previously held the IBF and IBO diadems. In another bout, Lee Dyer and Giovanni Bushby will slug it out for the African Boxing Union super middleweight championship.
The third contest will be the Eastern Cape featherweight match-up between Lwandile Zinto and Aphiwe Masangwana. Two other non-title fights are yet to be announced.
Ticket prices for the showdown cost R100 each for unreserved seats.
CHAMP Simphiwe ‘Chain Reaction’ Khonco is determined
TOUGH Nkosinathi ‘Mabhere’ Joyi says he wants to win the IBO belt