Trainer Colin Nathan doesn’t actively seek out world-class fighters, preferring that fate takes care of things. As he says, “you never know . . . the next guy through your doors might be a superstar.”
With this philosophy in mind, he was very happy when long-time acquaintance Anthony Grobler, a top amateur, decided to hitch his fortunes to the HotBox gym.
Just 17, he’s already shot the lights out with his form during workouts, leading Nathan to proclaim – “he may be the next Hekkie Budler”.
It’s high praise indeed for a youngster who has yet to lace on professional gloves, but Nathan has seen many prospects in his time and reckons Grobler may be one of the best. It helps that he’s known him for 10 years, having watched him mature from an aspirant at the excellent Booysens club to a championship-level amateur where he won 87 bouts and lost just nine. In that time, he picked up a gold and two silver medals at the SA Championships.
With fast hands and natural ring generalship, Grobler already has strong fundamentals.
“I want to push myself and take on new challenges,” said the boxer yesterday, explaining his decision to opt for the paid ranks.
He’s thrilled that he’ll be sharing a gym with Budler, one of his boyhood heroes, the other being Manny Pacquiao.
Nathan expects the newest member of his stable to start out at junior-lightweight and speculates that he may finally end up at welterweight given that he’s tall and will still flesh out.
The plan is to take him for his professional license early in 2018 and then move him fast on account of his already substantial body of work. “I’m hyper-excited about this kid,” says Nathan. “If he doesn’t become champion . . . I don’t know.”
Grobler rates himself as a boxer who can fight, while Nathan lauds his specific skills: “He has good reflexes, a good jab and can dig with the right hand. He listens and is excellent at sparring.”
What’s more, Grobler is a straight A student who finished school just a fortnight ago. He’s got his head screwed on straight and knows where he wants to go – straight to the top.