International Boxing Organization (IBO) welterweight champion Thulani “Tulz” Mbenge’s preparations for his title defense against Sebastian Formella in July have received a major boost after the Mdantsane-born boxer won the Male Boxer of the Year award at the South African Boxing Awards ceremony held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Friday night.

Mbenge got the nod ahead of equally talented boxers like current International Boxing Federation (IBF) Intercontinental junior-lightweight champion Azinga Fuzile, IBO cruiserweight king Kevin Lerena, African Boxing Union (ABU) bantamweight belt holder Ronald Malindi and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Intercontinental junior-bantamweight champion Yanga Sigqibo, who were also nominated for the Male Boxer of the Year.

Mbenge says this is good for his confidence going into this fight.

The unbeaten Mbenge, who is a former South African welterweight champion, got the nod following his victories over Diego Cruz and Diego Gabriel Chaves last year.

In Pot Elizabeth last year, Mbenge had earmarked 2018 as the year where he was going to win this main award.

Arguably the country’s number one recognised boxer currently, the WBO bantamweight world champion Zolani Tete had to feature at these awards, he went home with the special recognition award and also the Knockout of the year.

His world record 11 second knockout against fellow South Africa Siboniso Gonya in November 2019, got the nod.

Tete says this is just an affirmation of the role he’s playing in boxing in the country.

After helping to produce two credible world champions in this qualifying period in Hekkie Budler, Moruti Mthalane and also turning Azinga Fuzile to a different direction, Colin Nathan deservedly took home

SABC Sport presenter Thabiso “Tracksuit” Mosia was announced as the SA Boxing Awards Media Personality of the year for his sterling role in the coverage of boxing in the form SAFM’s Boxing Wednesdays show. Report by Velile Mnyandu

 All the winners:

Male Boxer of the Year 2018: Thulani Mbenge

Female Boxer of the Year 2018: Mellisa Miller

Knockout of the Year 2018: Zolani Tete v Siboniso Gonya

Male Fight of the Year 2018: Mzwoxolo Ndwayana v Shaun Ness

Female Fight of the Year 2018: Asandiswa Nxokwana v Sharadene Fortuin

Promoter of the Year 2018: Teris Ntutu of Rumble Africa Promotions

Trainer of the Year 2018: Colin Nathan

Male Ring Official of the Year 2018: Alan Matakane

Female Ring Official of the Year 2018: Siya Vabaza-Booi

Media Person of the Year 2018: Thabiso Mosia

Manager of the Year 2018: Colleen McAusland

Most Promising Promoter of the Year 2018: Xolani Mampunye of Last Born Promotions

Male Prospect of the Year 2018: Ayabonga Sonjica

Female Prospect of the Year 2018: Simangele Hadebe

Most Promising Ring Official of the Year 2018: Simphiwe Gceba