Victory boosts ailing Mnguni

The legendary boxing club of ailing guru Mzi Mnguni continued with its revival after it produced yet another national champion at the weekend.

IN CONTROL: Siphamandla Baleni Baleni and Xolisani Magusha in action during their SA mini-flyweight title bout at Orient Theatre in East London over the weekend. INSET: Xolisa Magusha with his SA tittle belt Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

This after unheralded Xolisa Magusha toppled defending champion Siphamandla Baleni to win the SA mini-flyweight crown at Orient Theatre on Friday.

By winning the title in emphatic fashion, Magusha wrote his name in the club’s history book by returning the belt to where it all started when Thamsanqa Sogcwe became the first ever boxer in the land to win it in 1992.

The mini-flyweight also has deep roots in the club as it also produced the country’s first ever world champion in the division when unknown Zolani Petelo travelled to Thailand to upset highly regarded Thai Anucha Phothong in 1997 to win the IBF crown in what was voted as the upset of the year in the world.

The historic connotations were not lost to Magusha as Mnguni sat him down and reminded him what his title bid meant for the club.

“I told him all about what it means to win the title in this division,” an elated Mnguni said after the fight.

Mnguni, who is wheelchair bound owing to a heart attack he suffered four years ago, took time to attend the weigh-in of the fight to motivate the 26-year-old.

However, he could not be present at the fight as he had family commitments.

But he said he was glued on television to witness the historic moment for his club.

“If there is anything that gave my health a boost it was watching Magusha boxing so beautifully to win the title,” he said.

“Tears just rolled down my face recounting what his victory was doing to the Eyethu brand.”

Indeed Magusha boxed a disciplined fight spurned on by trainer Ncedo Cecane in the corner.

So determined were the boxer and the trainer that at times Cecane – a former national flyweight champion – would land a fierce blow on Magusha’s solar plexus in the corner to demonstrate what he needed to do to his foe.

And it appeared to work wonders for the southpaw as he would land exactly the same punches to Baleni to run away with the crown.

While Baleni never stopped trying to turn the tide, he had no answer to Magusha’s uppercuts which wreaked havoc in the middle rounds.

All the judges had Magusha winning the fight by scores of 116-112, 118-111 and 117-111 to add yet another title to the club renowned for producing top boxers such as Welcome Ncita, Vuyani Bungu, Mbulelo Botile, Petelo and Hawk Makepula.

By winning the title, Magusha become the second national champion from the club after it ended years of drought when Phila Mpontshane won the SA junior lightweight title in December last year.

In fact both Mpontshane and Magusha achieved the feat at the expense of Xaba Promotions promoted boxers Aphiwe Mboyiya and Baleni.

XPE boss Ayanda Matiti who promoted the fight later said: “It looks like XPE is becoming Father Christmas for bra Mzi.”

Other results: Ludumo Lamati beat Alex Boureima Kabore on points (IBF Intercontinental junior featherweight title), Mzuvukile Magwaca beat Immanuel Naidjala on points (IBF Intercontinental bantamweight title); Nhlanhla Ngamtwini beat Thembelani Nxoshe on points (non-title fight), Mziwoxolo Ndwayana beat Uyanda Nogogo on points.

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