Altamura believes SA will produce more champions

Mike Altamura and Colin Nathan.

MTK Global International Consultant Mike Altamura believes that there are a number of South African fighters who can become international superstars in years to come. The boxing manager spent a week in the country and was in East London over the weekend for the Azinga Fuzile-Shavkat Rakhimov fight.

“There was (Khanyile) Bulana, the other night, who overcame an acid test. A lot of people wrote him off completely in that fight (against Phila Mpontshana). So he’s moved now to 12-0. I think he’s got a good future, we just have to be smart with the kind of fights that will move him forward and keep developing his skill set,” said he said.

Altamura also mentioned Luyanda Ntwanambe whose fight against Fikile Mlonyeni excited many fans.

“I think he’s very, very talented. Very raw, he has is fighting spirit and he had a good test the other night because he was under heavy assault in rounds seven and eight where the other guy (Mlonyeni) was game and tested him to the body and he came back from that. He’s still a young kid, I believe 8-0-1 but I think he’s got a good future,” he said.

The Australian, who has been managing fighters for 19 years, also spoke about Lerato Dlamini who is ranked seventh by the WBC.

“Boxing is so record driven in this generation that people see that he lost on debut but they don’t see that he lost on debut, they just see a loss and write him off a little bit. But I think he can give a lot of the top featherweights in the world a hell of a tough time. He might not be on a lot of people’s radars. I know here he is because he beat Simphiwe Vetyeka and a lot of notable fighters in South Africa. Obviously there is the win over Dave Penalosa,” he said.

The fighters he talked about are signed with MTK Africa, which is headed by Colin Nathan with Altamura working closely with him.

So what are the plans for the fighters?

Regarding Dlamini he said: “The key is to just build his ranking. Hopefully within the next 12 to 18 months close in on a world title eliminator for him and deliver him the opportunity. I believe he’s got the skills to be at that level so I think we just have be proactive in setting the plans in motion, keep him busy and see where it takes us. He’s got a very good local promoter as well (Rumble Africa) so that makes it easier from a management perspective.”

“Hekkie Budler we just looking where to place him. Maybe place him somewhere in November and then just another assault on a world title. He’s still at that level, he’s a hell of fighter. This might be the last run of his career so let’s make it a great one.”

What about the legendary Moruti Mthalane?

“He’s like fine win,” he says. “It’s an incredible story. One of my closest friends outside of boxing is Hussein Hussein and Moruti beat him in a world title eliminator 12 years ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Moruti would be a force 12 years later and never would I have thought that this last world title run I’d have the opportunity to work with a South African boxing legend like that. Such a pleasant, nice and humble man. You know he’s a fighter we positioned for the IBF World Title. Then the subsequent opportunity we landed in Macau and also the mandatory defense in Japan. Every time he comes to me and he’s like ‘you know Mike thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me and my family and for all the other South African boxers’. I’m like you got it the wrong way ‘thank you for letting me be part of your journey and even if you in the last few years of your career, thank you for letting me be part of your story and legacy’. Looks like we’ve got a big fight announcement for him which is in its final stages of negotiating.”

Mthalane might have just a few fights left in his magnificent career but MTK’s involvement in Africa might just help us see more African fighters given the opportunity to fight for major titles.

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