After one rust-shaking bout, crowd favourite Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndongeni feels he is ready to return to the world title path.
The fight-starved boxer returned to action a fortnight ago when he pulverised late substitute Yohane Banda of Malawi in two rounds of their lightweight non-title contest.
Ndongeni was fighting in his happy-hunting ground of Orient Theatre, even though he had hoped that his ring appearance would be under the bright lights of Las Vegas. “I was not particularly happy with my performance but considering that I had not fought for over a year I did well,” he said.
Ndongeni described Banda as a tough opponent, “who could have beaten other boxers if taken lightly”.
“I gave him a chance to show me what he had got in the first round and when I started to knuckle down to business in the second he decided to quit. I am not taking anything from him because I was determined.”
There is no feeling like the feel of the glove on an opponent which sometimes serves as tonic for boxers after long spells outside the ring. Ndongeni admits that he needed that type of environment and was grateful to the organisers who agreed to slot him in just a few days before the fight.
What proved to be the icing on the cake was his reunion with long- time childhood trainer Chief Njekanye who manned his corner.
“I decided to return to Chief because, let’s face it, there is no-one else I can train with here at home. Chief and I come a long way so it was only natural that we would work together.”
Njekanye plucked Ndongeni from obscurity and transformed him from a rugby-playing star to an unbeaten boxer. Before meeting Njekanye, he had never put on a boxing glove before. Together they scaled the dizzy heights culmin- ating in the boxer winning the
R1-million award in the now defunct Premier Boxing League.
He is yet to be paid his prize.
Like all marriages, the pair split, with Ndongeni trekking to Johannesburg to join trainer Colin Nathan and promoter Rodney Berman. But the move turned sour as he hardly featured in the ring for over a year, until he decided to bolt and leave for the US to train at the Floyd Mayweather Gymnasium with Luis Tapia assuming the role of trainer and manager.
After Ndongeni’s rust-shaking assignment, Tapia called him to inform him that he was busy sorting out his return to the land of the dollar.
“I may leave tomorrow,” he said.
Now that he has had that long overdue ring appearance, Ndongeni is already targeting the top dogs in the lightweight division.
“I want Ray Beltran. They approached me before deciding on Namibian Paulus Moses [they are fighting in February].”
Beltran, from Mexico, is highly rated with his boxing exploits capturing interest from movie directors as he is using the sport to qualify for the green book which will help him obtain American citizenship.
Another boxer Ndongeni is itching to get into the ring with is Indonesian Daude Cino Yordan whose name will resonate with local boxing followers as he once fought Mdantsane boxer Simpiwe Vetyeka when he surrendered his IBO featherweight title to him.
For strange reasons, Yordan is also highly rated and if Ndongeni could realise his wishes, a win over the Indonesian would catapult him into the world title mix.
“I can feel that good things are on the horizon coming for me now.”
With a perfect fight record of 23 bouts without a loss, Ndongeni hopes to thrust his name into the US boxing limelight.