There will be four world champions in the gym in 2020 — Lerato Dlamini

Lerato Dlamini

Lerato Dlamini believes that the gym he trains at, Hotbox, will have four major title winners by the end of the year.

“Hekkie (Budler) is going to be a WBC champ and I am as well,” said Dlamini.

The WBC Silver Featherweight title holder believes him, Budler, Moruti Mthalane and Azinga Fuzile will all have major belts around their waists.

Before Dlamini can fight for the big one, however, he has to get past Nathaniel Kakololo on March 8 at the Orient Theatre, East London.

“I should look like an elite fighter (against Kakololo),” he said.

Confidence is running high with Dlamini as he is coming from a convincing win over Dave Penalosa in 2019, where many experts felt he was the underdog going into the fight.

“I drew a lot of confidence you know. I perform better when I’m the underdog. But now I don’t have to lower my performance next week. I’m going to raise the bar. I’m really confident going into this fight,” said the fighter nicknamed “Lights Out”.

The importance of the matchup cannot be underestimated as Dlamini knows that he is edging closer to a world title shot. He currently ranked fourth by the WBC and with talk that world champion Gary Russell is planning to move up to 130 pounds, Dlamini could find himself in a position to fight in an eliminator in the near future.

He is not getting ahead of himself though.

“I can’t overlook Nathaniel. I need to get through him and then I will look forward to the future. This is a must-win fight for me,” he said.

“This fight is very big for me, bigger than the Penalosa fight. So I’m going to look impressive. I’m focused, I’m disciplined and I’m ready.”

So what are Dlamini’s predictions for this fight?

“Judging by how I’ve been training and sparring I’m going to knock him out,” he says.

“I don’t know which round, I can’t predict which round but he’s very tough. Maybe in the later rounds I’ll stop him.”

Lights Out feels he has had the good preparations for this bout.

“I’ve been putting in rounds with (Ludumo) Lamati, Anthony Grobelaar, David Rajuille, Lusanda Komanisi, recently (Tshifiwa) Munyai and (Ronald) Malindi. So I’ve had very good sparring partners. Different styles of boxing. So I’m feeling good going into this fight. Camp has been amazing.”

Ramogoadi aiming for big comebacks for his charges

Trainer Harry Ramogoadi is looking to help Lwandile Sityata and Siyabonga Siyo reach their best heights. The two fighters have been out of action for a long time and have now moved from the Eastern Cape to Ramogoadi’s VIP Boxing Gym in Benoni.

“I think they were retired,” says the trainer.

“They were sick and tired and walked away from boxing. Luckily I met a boxer last year who said he wants them to come back so I said by all means. They are top boxers, they shouldn’t be lost to the sport. They just needed someone who can spend time with them and maybe help rekindle the love (for the sport).”

The two fighters will be in action at the John Barrable Hall in Benoni, on Sunday.

Former IBO Bantamweight champion Sityata headlines the bill as he takes on Rofhiwa Nemushungwa in a 10 round bout.

“It hasn’t been difficult getting back because I wasn’t just staying at home, I was also training,” Sityata told 10 Count.

“I just had one year off because of hepatitis B so I treated it well and then they said that I’m now negative.”

The fighter nicknamed “Angel” is not too worried about Nemushungwa.

“All I know is that I’m going to beat him. That’s all I can say,” he says.

“I’m so fit that I’m sure that it won’t go for 10 rounds.”

Siyo, who has shared the ring with the likes of former world champion Hekkie Budler and WBC contender Simpiwe Konkco, will go against Mbulelo Nxazonke in a 10 round light flyweight contest.

“These are world class boxers,” says Ramogoadi.

“It didn’t take me long to realise how good these guys are and how hungry they still are. So I’m expecting nothing but fireworks. I think Lwandile’s opponent is a little bit tricky so I don’t want to put too much pressure on him and I don’t want Lwandile to put too much pressure on himself as he’s from a long layoff. But knockouts wouldn’t surprise me.”

The trainer is expecting Sityata and Siyo to both be ready for titles after three fights with him.

While him and Sityata both believe that the Angel will be ready for a crack at international belts, the fighter still wants to have a shot at one South African boxer after Sunday.

“There are no strong boxers in my division but there is this (Ronald) Malindi who’s talking too much. I’ll be happy if I can face him. Just to see if he’s got what it takes. I’m not interested in the SA title but I want to fight him just to shut his mouth up because he’s talking too much,” says Sityata.

“He’s got that attitude of undermining some other boxers. Talking bad about them. He’s acting like he’s the king of bantam while he’s still like an amateur. He doesn’t have experience. So I want to face him to see what he’s got.”

Another notable fight on the BMT Promotions bill is between Mfusi Maxhayi, who is also trained by Ramogoadi, and Sthembile Luzipho.

“Unfortunately Mfusi has got talent but he’s got to go. He’s got no work ethic, no dedication, no motivation. It’s sad because he’s got talent. You can’t win on talent alone,” said Ramogoadi.

The trainer said that this will be his last fight with Maxhayi as he does not believe the fighter has the discipline he wants.

This is after Maxhayi’s fight against Lerato Dlamini had to be cancelled last year due to the former being overweight.

The fighter, however, believes that he just did not have the time he needed to prepare for the Dlamini bout.

“I was unfit last December. I was very, very unfit so I was not ready for that fight,” said Maxhayi.

He believes that things have changed for Sunday’s bout.

“I’ve had a long time to prepare for this fight. So that’s why I’m fit and I’m ready for this fight. Even my weight is fine,” Maxhayi said.

The tournament in Benoni starts at 1pm on Sunday.