The schoolboy boxer aiming to be a superstar

Azinga Fuzile, left, with WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete.

Azinga Fuzile.

Remember the name. You might be hearing it a lot more in the coming years.

Next weekend, the SA featherweight champion makes his debut in Gauteng when he fights in the first round of the Super Four against battle-hardened Tshifhiwa Munyai.

“Munyai is in trouble,” said Mlandeli Tengimfene, Fuzile’s trainer, yesterday. “Azinga is coming for him. You will see a different boy . . . he’s so energetic. The Super Four will be his launch pad.”

Anyone who saw Fuzile take apart Macbute Sinyabi last year will attest to his skills. He was fast and accurate, his awkward southpaw style completely neutralising Sinyabi’s offence. The only surprise was that the fight wasn’t mercifully called off in the later rounds.

Trainer Mlandeli Tengimfene and promoter Rodney Berman.

Remarkably, he’s had just eight pro bouts, but what that record doesn’t indicate is his excellence as an amateur. In his final fight, he won gold at the African championships – hence the “Golden Boy” moniker – capping an excellent run in the unpaid ranks.

That he was destined for bigger and better things was long apparent. Zolani and Makazola Tete both used him for sparring when preparing for international bouts. Fuzile never let them down, going toe to toe with the celebrated brothers.

Not forgetting he’s still a schoolboy!

Indeed, his participation in the Super Four was initially in doubt because he has exams to prepare for, but Tengimfene, who used to train Xolani Ndongeni, assures that his protégé has time for both.

“He loves school; there’s no partying or girls. He’s very dedicated – he gets up early for road work and is back at home by six to get ready for school. After school, it’s homework and then gym from five to seven after which he is back in the books.”

If he seems like a smart young man, the 21-year-old is just as dedicated a fighter. Tengimfene says he works tremendously hard in their Mdantsane gym, hungry to break into the international scene.

He laughs off the suspicion that Fuzile may be in over his head against the former Commonwealth champion next weekend. He points out that in Fuzile’s pro debut he boxed someone (Sibusiso Khumalo) with 17 pro bouts. And that’s been the story of his career; he’s never fought anyone with a lesser record.

“The only absent names,” says his trainer, “are Munyai and Simpiwe Vetyeka . . . and we’re coming for them.”

The team intends to travel early to Johannesburg, this weekend, to ensure they acclimatise and get used to the conditions well in time. Fuzile has never fought beyond the Eastern Cape, but Tengimfene is unconcerned. He sees the reward in showcasing a potential superstar to a major audience in Gauteng and on live television.

“We’re very excited,” he says of the looming challenge. “People in Joburg will love this guy. He’s a superstar-in-waiting.”