Like Raging Bull Mzi’s man brings right tonic

Phila Mpontsane’s success when he retained his SA junior-lightweight title was a perfect antidote for bedridden Mzi Mnguni.

Mpontshane scored a 11th-round stoppage over Lucky Monyebane in Johannesburg to register the first defence of the title he won last December. The fight came just a few hours after Mnguni was readmitted in hospital after a heart attack.

However the news of Mnguni’s readmission was hidden from Mpontshane due to fears of him getting sidetracked.

And after Mpontshane won the fight when he forced the referee to stop it having dropped Monyebane in the middle rounds, Jeff Ellis who co-promoted the fight called Mnguni to tell him the good news.

“Jeff’s call was like being told that I had won a lottery,” Mnguni said with a hoarse voice.

“I was so happy I even cried. You know boxing is my life and to hear that my boxer won in Johannesburg was the best news I could wish for.”

Mnguni, who recently celebrated his 70th year birthday, also thanked his friend Rodney Berman for organising the fight.

Berman signed Mpontshane at the behest of Mnguni when the latter could not organise fights for the boxer due to his illness.

Despite his condition, Mnguni insisted he wanted to promote one more tournament with his famed Eyethu Promotions which has produced a bevy of world and national champions. This when he was working with SuperSport which also has an alliance with Berman.

“I wish SuperSport would give me just one chance to promote a boxing tournament,” he said.

“You know it is through boxing that I feel fine again. Boxing is me and no one should prevent me from doing what I love otherwise they may as well take my life.”

Berman organised a tribute tournament for Mnguni in November last year when Simpiwe Konkco retained his IBO mini-flyweight title against former Mnguni protégè Nkosinathi Joyi.

The proceeds of the tournament were donated to Mnguni in what became a memorable boxing occasion. “Yes I am grateful to Rodney for what he did for me but I need to promote a fight myself.”

Mpontshane was overwhelmed when told of what his win did to Mnguni.

“It gives great pleasure to know that I am playing a role in his recovery,” said Mpontshane.

“I will continue with my winning ways to ensure that he is always happy.”

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