BOX­ING MECCA KEEPS YOU UP TO DATE FROM THE RING­SIDE

IBO world cham­pion fired up for July 22 clash af­ter frus­trat­ing lay­off

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It has been a while since Simpiwe Konkco was seen ply­ing his trade in­side a ring.

This even though he is a world cham­pion – with a IBO mini-fly­weight crown firmly in his grasp. Due to his long in­ac­tiv­ity, his ti­tle and lofty rank­ings un­der other world bod­ies was al­ready un­der threat.

Now his pro­moter Rod­ney Berman’s promise to the boxer’s fans that Konkco would re­turn to ac­tion to save his ti­tle and main­tain his high rat­ing, has in­deed ma­te­ri­alised hav­ing an­nounced that the diminu­tive boxer will be in ac­tion at OR Tambo Hall on July 22.

Konkco took time to chat with us about the up­com­ing fight:

BOX­ING MECCA: I fig­ure by now you have for­got­ten every­thing about box­ing. Can you still dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween a fish­ing hook and a left hook?

SIMPIWE KONKCO (laugh­ing hi­lar­i­ously). Bra Mesuli please do not make a joke out of this be­cause to be hon­est with you, I was suf­fer­ing in­side. You must re­call that box­ing is my only source of in­come, so when I could not get fights it meant I can­not feed my fam­ily.

BM: You have not an­swered my ques­tion Gaba.

SK: (laugh­ing again). They say, if you once knew how to ride a bi­cy­cle, you will never for­get. So yeah, I know the dif­fer­ence be­tween a fish­ing hook and a left hook. Also, even though I have been in­ac­tive in the ring I have al­ways been in the gym train­ing ev­ery day.

BM: I guess you were the main spar­ring part­ner for Hekkie Budler be­fore his fight in Ja­pan.

SK: Yes, I was and that helped me with my own fit­ness. So I am sur­prised when you insin­u­ate that I have for­got­ten about box­ing.

BM: There is also Dee­jay Kriel who is also your sta­ble­mate. At one stage you guys were said to be sched­uled to fight each other.

SK: Yes, and let me tell you, I was not happy with that ar­range­ment. In fact ev­ery­one in my gym in­clud­ing Colin (Nathan, trainer) was not in favour of the plan. I spar with Dee­jay al­most every­day and for me to fight him in an ac­tual fight, was not on.

BM: I must com­mend you Gaba for keep­ing your cool un­der the cir­cum­stances you found your­self in. I can imag­ine how your fam­ily has been re­act­ing to the sit­u­a­tion.

SK: Eish bhuti you have no idea. That is why I even asked peo­ple like you to help out. De­spite this sit­u­a­tion , I could see that my pro­moter Rod­ney Berman was also not happy. In fact, he told me sev­eral times that he would not let me lose my ti­tle with­out de­fend­ing it in the ring. I could see that you had spo­ken to him as well about my sit­u­a­tion and I am grate­ful to you for that.

BM: One thing I dis­cov­ered with Rod­ney, is that he has a soft spot for you.

SK: I also re­alised that he loves me and that kept me go­ing. But like you pointed out the fam­ily does not care about those dy­nam­ics, if it does not bring food on the ta­ble.

BM: You are re­turn­ing to the ring when your sta­ble Hot­Box gym­na­sium is bask­ing in the glory of Hekkie’s win, mean­ing that a lot is ex­pected of you.

SK: I am aware of that and to me it is serv­ing as a mo­ti­va­tion. It gives me a kick to do every­thing in my power to keep the suc­cess in the gym go­ing.

BM: Now the big one Gaba. You are re­turn­ing home af­ter how long? How does it make you feel to fight in Mthatha?

SK: The feel­ing can’t be mea­sured. I have not fought in Mthatha in a while. In fact, if I am cor­rect I will be the first world cham­pion from the area to fight there and this gives me added im­pe­tus for this up­com­ing fight.

BM: It will give you an op­por­tu­nity to dis­play your skills in front of your friends, fam­ily, rel­a­tives and young kids.

SK: That is the most in­ter­est­ing part about all this. I want to in­spire the kids so that they dream of be­com­ing box­ers in fu­ture. I know Mthatha is a bedrock of tal­ent, so down the line I know I will touch so many young souls.

BM: This Toto Lan­dero guy you will be fight­ing. Did he not fight here again?

SK: No but you do know that he was ini­tially sched­uled to fight Dee­jay Kriel but Kriel got in­jured. And his brother once fought Hekkie Budler a while back.

BM: I am sure af­ter this fight you want noth­ing but a world ti­tle uni­fi­ca­tion.

SK: Bhuti, I am 32 years old now mean­ing re­tire­ment is not far. I must strike it while the iron is still hot . . . so yes, I want to en­gage in a uni­fi­ca­tion bat­tle af­ter this fight.

BM: Imag­ine if you were to be suc­cess­ful in your uni­fi­ca­tion fight. That would set a record for you and Hekkie to be uni­fied cham­pi­ons from the same sta­ble.

SK: That’s ex­actly our goal and we will achieve it.

BM: How is OR Tambo Mu­nic­i­pal­ity feel­ing about the re­turn to its parts of the son of the soil?

SK: One thing I must say about the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, is that they have never aban­doned me even when I moved to Jo­han­nes­burg. They have al­ways been be­hind me and af­ter win­ning the world ti­tle, they even pre­sented me with a cheque just to en­cour­age me. I have no il­lu­sions about their sup­port.

I will be the first world cham­pion from the area to fight there and this gives me im­pe­tus for this up­com­ing fight Simpiwe Konkco

Pic­ture: NICK LOURENS

BODY BLOW: Simpiwe Konkco un­leashes a straight right to Nkosi­nathi ‘Mabere’ Joyi’s up­per body in a re­cent bout .

Pic­ture: LULAMILE FENI

CHAMP STA­TUS: IBO In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal cham­pion Simpiwe Konkco shows off his belts.

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