It has been more than 13 months since Simpiwe Konkco climbed into the ropes to do what he does for a living.
That he is still an IBO world mini-flyweight champion must be down to the relationship his promoter Rodney Berman enjoys with the IBO led by president Ed Levine.
Konkco could have been stripped of the crown for inactivity but Berman quickly scheduled a bout for him in Mthatha where the local will defend his IBO title against Filipino Toto Landero at Zamukulungisa Hall in Walter Sisulu University on Sunday.
“We informed the IBO that there is already a scheduled bout for him so they were understanding,” said Berman.
Berman vowed never to let Konkco lose his world title and high ratings due to inactivity.
“We could not allow it to come down to that. Konkco is an important member of the Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) family.”
While Konkco has the right attitude and respect fighting in the smallest weight division is his Achilles heel.
He packs a mean punch and he is a must-see television fighter who does not bore spectators.
“But at Emperors Palace spectators do not appreciate the weight in which Konkco fights. It is all good in other provinces such as the Eastern Cape where spectators appreciate skill regardless of the division.”
This is why Berman negotiated with Last Born Promotions (LBP) to have Konkco top its bill, which makes sense as the diminutive boxer was born in the area.
“We expect people to come in their numbers to see Konkco in action and the fact that the weigh-in will be held in Ngangelizwe township where he was born should add to the excitement,” said LBP director Xolile Mampunye.
Partnered with OR Tambo municipality which can lay claim to developing Konkco as it used to bankroll his tournaments while he was still in the area, LBP wants to leave no stone unturned in making sure that the boxer’s return leaves an indelible mark.
Konkco is one of such boxers who learnt on the job primarily because of the scarcity of fights in the area.
He had to accept any bout offered in East London even where terms did not favour him.
This saw his fight record becoming patchy but it also helped him to finetune his boxing makeup.
When he was mandated to contest for the vacant SA mini-flyweight title against talented Duncan Village boxer Bongani Mfundisi no one gave him a chance to win.
“We did not even try to organise the fight in Mthatha because we knew the fight was actually designed for Mfundisi,” Konkco recalls.
But Konkco prevailed by a seven rounds stoppage and started his reign as a champion.
Fortunately OR Tambo municipality through former Boxing SA board member Sakhiwo Sodo understood the enormity of the achievement and since then the municipality got behind its star.
Defences against the likes of Luyanda Nkwankwa, Khanyakude Mukansi who both cried robbery and Zukisani Kwayiba steeled Konkco’s resolve and turned him into a serious world contender.
But those who saw him go life and death with Sibusiso Twani in Tsolo were not so convinced that he was ready for the big league.
A fight of the year bout against Hekkie Budler for the WBA and IBO mini-flyweight titles convinced all and sundry and most importantly Berman that he is the goods.
“He is a patient boy because he has plenty of faith in us. We will push him to a unification clash after this one.”
In Landero, Konkco faces a boxer who is his junior by 10 years.
Landero does not pack such a punch having stopped only two of his 10 victims, making him a perfect foe for Konkco to dust off cobwebs.
Then the big one can come.