The Eastern Cape boxing fraternity believes the late Mzimasi Mgnuni should be inducted into the South African Boxing Hall of Fame. The legendary trainer and promoter was buried in Alice, in the Eastern Cape, last Sunday.
Mnguni single-handedly put Mdantsane on the world map when he guided Welcome Ncita to a world title victory.
Ncita became the second black fighter to win a world title when he beat Frenchman Fabrice Benichou to capture the IBF world junior featherweight title in 1990.
Boxing legend Mzimasi Mnguni honoured:
The architects of apartheid created Mdantsane for the black population on the outskirts of East London in the early 60s. But unbeknown to them, this sprawling township would become a breeding ground for boxing.
It produced multiple national champions in the 70s.
The turning point was in the 90s when Mnguni’s Eyethu Boxing stable produced five world champions, Welcome Ncita, Vuyani Bungu, Mbulelo Botile, Zolani Petelo and Hawk Makepula.
Bungu says the highlight of his career was winning the IBF junior featherweight from the then-unbeaten American, Kennedy McKinney. Bungu went on to make 13 successful defences of the title, the most by any South African boxer.
“Bra Mzi, because of his work in the sport of boxing, he put SA on the map. I think if they can put him in the hall and also create Mzi’s stature, but I know a stature it’s a process. But taking him into the Hall of Fame, it will make me happy as I am standing here.”
Mourners pay tribute to Mzimasi Mnguni:
Eye for talent
Former IBO world flyweight champion, Hawk Makepula, was Mdantsane’s first Olympian in 1998 during the Atlanta Games.
Makepula says Mnguni was a good strategist and had an eye for talent.
“I met him in 1988 while still an amateur, I went to represent South Africa at the Commonwealth [Games], Atlanta Olympics and World Championships. He has done something special for me. He made me train with professionals while still as an amateur.”
Loyiso Mtya has served boxing in many capacities. Mtya, who is among the list of East London ex-national champions, is also a former BSA chief executive officer.
He says there should be a museum in Mnguni’s honour.
“We should have a museum, and in the museum, his bust should be there among other people. He won’t be there alone. But he deserves to be there.”
During Mnguni’s memorial service in East London, a call was made that his legacy should be preserved by naming a facility after him.