Masenze Boxing Club may be going through a dark cloud at the moment due to the dope failure of its top boxer Aphiwe Mboyiya but it has not stopped churning out champions.
The club housed in an old dilapida-ted Lumko school in Duncan Village is battling to clean its image after Mboyiya failed a dope test recently.
This when the former SA junior-lightweight champion, IBF Youth champion and WBO Africa champion could not make the weight for his fight against Sibusiso Zinganga.
Although Mboyiya scraped through with an unsatisfying decision over Zinganga, his performance was so below-par even his trainer Kholisile Cengani could not help but slam it. Then news filtered through that Mboyiya had used a water reducing agent in his unsuccessful attempt to make the weight.
This was picked up in tests conducted by doping agents shortly after the bout.
Mboyiya is currently scheduled to appear in a SA Institute for Drug Free Sports (Saids) hearing in East London on September 5.
While the stigma stemming from Mboyiya’s failed dope test was expected to have adverse consequences to the rest of his gymmates, it has however served as an inspiration for them to prove that not all is doom and gloom at the club.
“We sat down with the boxers and told them what has just befallen the club should not discouraged them,” Cengani, popularly known as KC, said. “Instead they should use Mboyiya’s misfortune to go an extra mile and prove that the club is not about to die.”
Indeed Masenze boxers have been giving an extra effort in the ring with the rising unbeaten star Khanyile Bulana continuing with his reign of terror in the ring.
Unbeaten in seven fights all but one by stoppages, the 25-year-old has just added the scalp of Sithembile Luzipho – the son of legendary Mveleli Luzipho who was the youngest boxer to ever win a national title – to his growing list of knockout victims when he retained his Eastern Cape featherweight crown.
The heavy-handed boxer is already tipped to go far in the game but Cen-gani cautions against anointing him just yet. “We still teaching Bulana that he should stop his heavy reliance on his right because sooner or later his opponents will study him.”
Then there is the female champion Noxolo Makhanavu, who has just recorded her fourth defence of her SA flyweight crown by halting Portia Base in two rounds last weekend.
A sister to former SA flyweight champion in the male category Xola Sifama, Makhanavu has taken over the honours of being a leader at the club with the expected ban of Mboyiya. “She is an example for the young boxer growing up and no one has felt the misfortune of Mboyiya more than her,” Cengani says.
Indeed the pair formed an unbreakable bond as they were seen on ringside cheering each other when one of them is fighting.
Perhaps what happened to Mboyiya has manifested itself into a rage in Makhanavu giving rise to a mean boxer whose intent is to seek and destroy. This was evident in her bout against Base as he abandoned her usual safety-first approach and gunned for the kill.
Besides Bulana there is another provincial champion in Odwa Gaxa who holds the welterweight crown.
Also 25 years old, Gaxa’s record spots a single loss in six bouts having stopped among others veteran Khulilekile Sibeko in four rounds to lift the title.
But it was his chilling Mike Tyson-like destruction of Masande Mendile just seconds of their clash in Queenstown that made detractors to sit up and take notice.
But Cengani is still bitter with the manner his other charge Ayanda Ndulani parted with his provincial mini-flyweight crown to Xolisa Magusha when their bout was stopped due to cuts which he insists were caused by an accidental headbutt.
“But the outcome was a technical knockout win for Magusha. We are still chasing him for a rematch.”
Ndulani stunned all and sundry when he was shipped to Johannesburg to serve as easy foe for rising Golden Gloves Promotions star DJ Kriel.
Instead Ndulani refused to lose resulting to a bout being scored a draw with many ringsiders feeling Kriel had benefited due to him being a house fighter.
The draw remains the only blemish on Kriel’s record with the highly touted boxer having gone on to beat Magusha en route to winning the WBC international mini-flyweight crown.
Cengani is still harbouring aspirations for a rematch especially as Ndulani’s subsequent third round stoppage win over Thandolwethu Hlangani on the Bulani-Luzipho card to take his fight record to five wins a loss and a draw.
As the club is aptly called Masenze, Cengani is confident of making more champions only if a good Samaritan can come to the rescue by providing a more conducive training space for his fighters.