Xolisani Ndongeni, SA’s reigning Boxer of the Year, will have his first outing next weekend when he tops a bill in Cape Town against Ghana’s Razak Nettey (20-4).
Six months on from his last fight, a points win over Juan Mendez in California, Ndongeni (22-0) is looking to do a number on his opponent to remind everyone of his class as a fighter.
“Nomeva” is rated by three of the major organisations, not least the WBA, which has him at number five, and cannot afford to slip up against a man he ought to have the beating of.
Given that the lightweight has seen no more than a brief video clip of Nettey, Ndongeni isn’t certain of what he’ll be up against, which is why he’s sparred against a variety of boxers in the HotBox gym. They include Frans Ramabolo, Warren Joubert, Tyrone Hall, Tshifiwa Munyai, Ricky Tshabalala and even light-heavyweight Ryno Liebenberg. They’ve all offered different challenges.
“Training has been going great,” said the easygoing 27-year-old. “I’m growing up as a boxer every day and I’m grateful where I am.”
Where he’s at is in the mix among the elite of the division, although he’ll need a major scalp – or belt – to fortify his position. Given promoter Rodney Berman’s tie-in with US counterpart Art Pelullo, there’s every chance Ndongeni will land a title shot or major fight before long. It’s what he craves.
If, and when, it happens, he’ll have his passport by his side. Last time he was US-bound he misplaced his visa, scuppering his trip. He’s since replaced it and is keeping it safe, patiently waiting for the phone to ring.
For now, Cape Town beckons. Nomeva’s legion of fans will doubtless cheer his return.