Boxing manager Luis slams 'unfair' criticism of Mtolo

'Judge trainers on merit, not skin colour'

Roarke Knapp and Vusi Mtolo during the Razoravskiy Sharp Box and Dine press conference at Augustus room, Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Roarke Knapp and Vusi Mtolo during the Razoravskiy Sharp Box and Dine press conference at Augustus room, Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The boxing fraternity must desist from condemning white boxers just because they are under black trainers – says boxing manager Marco Luis whose charge Roarke “Razor” Knapp is under the guidance of Vusi Mtolo.

Mtolo, 46, originally from Clermont in Durban, works with Colin Nathan and together they have produced a number of world champions including reviving the moribund career of Moruti Mthalane. The 38-year-old ring veteran bounced back from a two-year hiatus to win the IBF flyweight title which he has defended three times.

Mtolo now has his own boxers that he trains at Nathan’s Hot Box Gym in Balfour Park, Johannesburg east.

Knapp – who began his pro career under Mimo Spirito – joined Mtolo two years ago. Knapp won six and drew one fight under Spirito. Knapp tasted defeat in his fourth fight under Mtolo and that was when he was eliminated from Golden Gloves Super Four in November.

But Knapp redeemed himself with a devastating second-round knockout of Tristan Trutter at Emperors Palace on Saturday afternoon. Mtolo had no-one assisting him in the corner but was by himself. The knockout was Knapp’s eighth in 10 wins against a loss and a draw.

Luis said a lot of criticism levelled against Mtolo came after Knapp’s loss to Brandon Thysse.

“People were saying bad management and poor trainer but Roarke never blamed Vusi. It is unfair for the boxing community to doubt a white fighter when he or she is under a black South African trainer,” he said.

“I mean a lot of people in boxing never gave Vusi credit for all Roarke’s wins. They said Vusi does not have credentials. Mtolo is going to prove everyone wrong and that I can assure you. He is a brilliant trainer and master technician. Look, we never truly left but we are officially back. Everyone was sure that Tristan was going to beat Knapp but the direct opposite happened. Boxing has nothing to do with colour or religion.”


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