Du­randt hails new charge Nomeva

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

Damien Du­randt is op­ti­mistic that the ar­rival of Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndon­geni as the new­est mem­ber of his camp will en­cour­age all his box­ers to be­come cham­pi­ons.

The former In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion light­weight cham­pion dumped his trainer, Colin Nathan, two weeks ago and joined Du­randt af­ter his erstwhile men­tor failed to or­gan­ise fights for him. They had been to­gether since 2015, but parted ways ac­ri­mo­niously af­ter the promise of ring ac­tion did not come to fruition.

Ndon­geni’s last fight was a points win over Juan Gar­cía Mén­dez at Omega Prod­ucts In­ter­na­tional in Corona, Cal­i­for­nia, in Novem­ber.

Voted the country’s best fighter last year, the move to join the 26-year-old Du­randt came as a sur­prise to the box­ing fra­ter­nity. Nomeva is a year older than his trainer, but is un­per­turbed at hav­ing a per­son younger than him­self as a men­tor.

On vis­it­ing Du­randt at his sta­ble at Links­field Ter­race Shop­ping Cen­tre, sit­u­ated north-east of Johannesburg, this week, we failed to find Ndon­geni among the pugilists go­ing through their paces. Du­randt said his new­bie was on hol­i­day at home in Dun­can Vil­lage in East London, and would catch up with the rest of his stable­mates on his re­turn this week.

Many would ex­pect Du­randt to still be dev­as­tated by the un­timely death of his fa­ther, Nick “Mthakathi” Du­randt, in a bike ac­ci­dent in Clarens, Free State, in April. But he opted to fo­cus on how Nomeva’s pres­ence had rubbed off on ev­ery­one else.

“I’ve got about 12 pro­fes­sional fight­ers in the gym. They are so mo­ti­vated by Ndon­geni join­ing us that I be­lieve his pres­ence will make them work hard and win big ti­tles soon,” said Du­randt, who ob­tained his train­ing li­cence at the age of 14.

He said all his fight­ers looked up to Ndon­geni as their role model and would try to em­u­late him by also be­ing voted the country’s best box­ers in the near fu­ture.

One of the top box­ers in Du­randt’s gym is Jack­son Chauke, who was crowned Gaut­eng fly­weight cham­pion af­ter beat­ing Sibu­siso Twani in the fifth round at the Kemp­ton Park Civic Cen­tre in July.

Other big names in the sta­ble in­clude cruis­er­weight Ilunga “Ju­nior” Mak­abu, who was knocked out by English­man Tony Bellew in the third round of their World Box­ing Coun­cil cruis­er­weight fight at Good­i­son Park Sta­dium, Liverpool, in May last year.

“Mak­abu is due to fight Malaw­ian Mussa Ajibu in Zim­babwe on Au­gust 25. De­tails of the bout will be re­leased soon,” said Du­randt.

The sta­ble also prides it­self on hav­ing Mar­cus Le­bogo (ju­nior wel­ter­weight), Au­gustin Matata (mid­dleweight) and Ricky Tsha­bal­ala (su­per mid­dleweight).

Du­randt said the un­ex­pected death of his fa­mous fa­ther last year was quite tough on him.

“I needed to find my feet with re­gards to which pro­mot­ers were re­ally will­ing to work with me. I can safely say that Real Steel Pro­mo­tions is close to me now,” he said.

He said he com­mu­ni­cated with his fa­ther in spirit.

“I get my bless­ing from Nick each time be­fore I start train­ing my box­ers. He is also happy for me to have Ndon­geni as one of my box­ers.”

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

IN CHARGE Damien Du­randt with a pic­ture of his late dad and box­ing trainer, Nick Du­randt, be­hind him

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