If not quite the new kid on the block, Lerato Dlamini is definitely the latest local fighter to enthuse over.
Indeed, so impressed was Rodney Berman with his recent win, he has found room for him on his August tournament at Emperors Palace.
Dlamini (8-1, 6 KOs) knocked out unbeaten Sinethemba Bam in Bloemfontein to capture the IBF Youth featherweight belt, a result that had trainer Colin Nathan in raptures. “I’d been telling everyone that this kid can really fight; he’s very special. Few expected him to beat Bam, but I had little doubt. He’s a diamond.”
Nathan rates his boxing ability, but says that Dlamini blends it with chilling power: “I’ve seen this guy three times with three different opponents turning off their lights and knocking them unconscious. His nickname is well suited: ‘Lights Out’.”
Born in Welkom, Dlamini had an outstanding amateur career, winning 78 of 90 fights and palming in SA Cadet, SA Youth and Zone Six titles along the way.
He lost his first pro bout in 2015 narrowly on points, but has since racked up eight straight wins, the best of them his sparking out of Bam. He’s a natural puncher, but also has accomplished boxing skills. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the fighter he most looks up to is Vasyl Lomachenko.
“What I really like,” says Nathan, “is that he’s hard-working and humble. He knows it’s a long road we need to travel. There can’t be short cuts and bull dust.”