Yet again a Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) show held at Emperors Palace last weekend set tongues wagging with Duncan Village star Azinga Fuzile the talk of the town.
As we often do after a big tournament we review it and offer analysis.
1. DEEJAY KRIEL beat THEMBANI OKOLO on points.
While watching the fight, I was thinking what would have happened had Nkosinathi Joyi not turned down the opportunity to fight Kriel as originally arranged.
Okolo was able to lay hands on Kriel with sickening regularity, so much so, that I wondered if the highly-touted DJ would have been able to withstand Joyi’s renown body bombardment. There were even some journalists on press row who felt Okolo did enough to steal it while others thought a draw would have been a good outcome.
And they were not alone, in thinking that, as one of the judges had the fight even.
2. AZINGA FUZILE TKO 3 TSHIFHIWA MUNYAI
Fuzile’s ring exploits seem to be spilling over to anyone from East London.
This was evident when a flood of people approached me including boxing historian Ron Jackson, SuperSport marketing and communications manager, Clinton van der Berg and Berman just to mention a few – wanting to know: “Is your boy ready for this?”
Jackson even went as far as casting aspersions on Fuzile’s involvement in the series given his novice fight record.
Jackson is old school and to him records are a yardstick of a boxer’s development.
You can imagine how popular I became after the one-sided victory.
3. LERATO DLAMINI beat SIMPIWE VETYEKA on points.
Ok everyone is a genius in hindsight and I am no different. I never imagined Vetyeka could lose to a boxer like Dlamini because of the vast differences in their skill-set.
But after speaking to Sean Smith who was tasked with the job of preparing the Mdantsane veteran, I suddenly became uneasy.
I could tell by merely speaking to Smith that preparing Vetyeka was simply an arrangement for him – and nothing more. The bond that often gets stronger between a trainer and a boxer as the fight approaches was non-existent.
My concerns were exacerbated by Vetyeka’s failure to make the weight at the premedical although understandable that was not compulsory as there was no title at stake.
Although Vetyeka gave his team and fans a scare at the final weigh-in when he came in a few grams overweight before stripping to his underwear to make the weight, the trainer and boxer’s individualistic tendencies were glaring.
Dlamini came in prepared but his confidence grew when his chopping right started to hit home. Vetyeka had no answer to the punch. Instead, he coiled back every time he saw it coming which was not often.
There was no urgency from Vetyeka’s corner even when it was obvious that the fight was slipping away.
“Why is Vetyeka’s corner so calm yet he is losing the fight,” cried SABC Sports journalist Velile Mbuli.
The defeat was a major setback to Vetyeka’s career but as one fan remarked, his defeat was not telling him that he is indeed done.
5. RYNO LIEBENBERG beat PATRICK MUKALA on points.
Can someone tell me what Liebenberg is still doing in the ring eating punches when he partly owns a multi-million rand business?
The guy does not need the money, but still he is unable to shake off the boxing bug that apparently bit him long before meeting his wife, whose father happens to be a tycoon.
“If I lose to Mukala then I am gone for good,” he reportedly said and one would have expected him to fight casually. Not Ryno.
Instead he fought as if his life depended on the outcome.
I have attended numerous boxing tournaments for over a decade now, but no trainer has ever yelled at me while he is in the ring.
One can imagine my shock when Colin Nathan screamed my name while in the ring before the official announcement of the outcome of his charge Deejay Kriel’s fight with Thembelani Okolo.
“Mesuli!, Mesuli!,” Nathan wailed as those at ringside turned their heads around, bewildered – not even sure who this “Mesuli” was.
“Tell Siphamandla Baleni that he will never beat Kriel,” Nathan continued, animated.
Fellow boxing scribe Bongani Magasela shot an inquisitive look at me, but I could only stare back because I was as confused as anyone.
Firstly, I had no idea how Nathan was able to spot me when his attention was supposed to be on his boxer.
Secondly, I know he can be an emotional wreck especially after a bout involving his boxer, so I was not perturbed, rather amused.
But I was still determined to find out as to the origins of his tirade and, just as I was jostling to get close to him, Boxing SA chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka grabbed my hand to greet me.
My response was to literally drag Lejaka towards Nathan to witness what was about to unfold.
Then I asked Nathan to repeat what he had said whilst in the ring and he needed no further encouragement to launch into yet another rant on why Baleni would never beat Kriel.
“But Colin, how does that involve me?’ I asked.
“Because you guys down in East London have been accusing Kriel of ducking Baleni,” he fumed.
“Has Mesuli ever written about that in his paper,” Lejaka asked trying to diffuse the situation.
“I do not know, but if he has not, he must go and write that Kriel will smoke Baleni.”
Lejaka and I burst out laughing.
I love this game!
While I was enjoying my breakfast in the morning after the tournament, GGP associate Jeff Ellis came lumbering towards me and promptly sat down by my table without even asking for my permission to do so.
Wearing a heavy frown, Ellis was so upset that I decided it would be wise to give him time to recover. You see, Ellis is a former heavyweight prize fighter!
Well, after the fight the previous night, he was called by one of the plethora of restaurants at Emperors Place casino informing him that police were about to be called to arrest boxing people who did not want to pay after racking up close to R1 000 on their food bill.
It turned out that the alleged people were Thembelani Okolo and his team.
Booked at one of the two hotels at the casino, the team, like any other guest, was told to dine at any restaurant in the casino area and quote their room numbers and names for the hotel to settle the bill.
But the hotels allow their guest a limited amount to spend.
This little piece of information was apparently lost to the Okolo’s team as it went to town with its order.
The crunch came when it was time to pay up.
They were only released after Ellis had been called and settled the bill out of his own pocket.
“It will have to come off their purse.” Ellis was still in a state which likely spoiled his breakfast with his wife