Ndongeni eager to be the ‘Raging Bull’ in ring once again

Xolisani ‘Nomeva’ Ndongeni is taking criticism with a pinch of salt ahead of his fight with Malcolm Klaasen on July 28
Xolisani ‘Nomeva’ Ndongeni is taking criticism with a pinch of salt ahead of his fight with Malcolm Klaasen on July 28
Image: File

Things could not be going better for Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndongeni who is beginning to reap the rewards following a decision to return to Johannesburg.

The boxer has confirmed that he will face veteran Malcolm Klaasen at a venue yet to be determined in Johannesburg.

“Yes the fight is scheduled for July 28 and I cannot begin to express my delight to return to action so soon,” said Ndongeni.

Indeed, Ndongeni was last in action in April when he beat Namibian Abraham Ndauendapo for the lightly-regarded WBF lightweight belt.

Before then, he had engaged in a brief fight when he easily blew away Tanzanian journeyman Yohane Banda in December.

The fight proved to be the beginning of the end of a year’s inactivity, that forced the talented boxer to hop from one stable to the other – in vain.

“At least now I am fighting regularly and there is nothing I want more than that,” he said.

Indeed, Ndongeni appeared a bit flat in his title-winning effort against Ndauendapo, fuelling perceptions that the long period of inactivity may have adversely affected him – more so than initially thought.

Now fighting out of the Sean Smith boxing club in Johannesburg, Ndongeni’s goal is to return to the summit of the lightweight division, where he was once rated third and was just a step away from challenging for the title.

Facing Klaasen, who brings with him the pedigree of being a former two-time IBF champion and who has performed on the world stage for a while, will boost Ndongeni’s quest for a world title challenge.

“Everybody knows Klaasen. He has mixed it with the best in the world and beating him will put my name up there,” said Ndongeni.

Klaasen has opted to use himself as an opponent to pad records of international prospects with outcomes going against him.

His last two defeats were during fights abroad – against unbeaten prospects Mikhail Alexeev and Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.

However, reports suggest that he was robbed in his fight against Alexeev, but that is what he should expect when fighting in his opponent’s backyard in a bout promoted by the opponent’s promoter.

Against Ndongeni he will also enjoy homeground advantage, which could be a great help in a bid to prove he is still far from finished at 36 years old. But Ndongeni is aware of all these side issues, emphasising that they will bring out the best in him.

“I know Klaasen is desperate to reignite his career and he will use everything he has to make sure that he does not lose the fight. But that is exactly what I also want.”

The lightweight division is arguably the most intense in the country, with revered boxers such as Simpiwe Vetyeka, Lusanda Komanisi, Thompson Mokwana all calling it their fighting home.

Asked which one he would love to fight, Ndongeni said he would take on any of the contenders.

“If any of them wants me he can get me but as far as I am concerned, I have no specific interest in fighting a particular boxer.”

Ndongeni still boasts an impressive fight record of having won all his 24 bouts.