By Bongani Magasela

When it rains for trainer Mzimasi Mnguni it pours in buckets and it appears that the world of boxing is steadily crumbling around him.

This follows the news that the pillars of his Eyethu Gym in East London, Masibulele Makepula and Mhikiza Myekeni, have bolted Mnguni's stable for trainer Nick Durandt.

Mnguni, who remains the most successful mentor in South Africa having produced 11 world champions and a handful of national titlist since 1986, is only left with Ncedo Cecane, the national flyweight champion.

The man, who used to make history years ago by winning the most top awards back to back, could not be reached for comment.

But Durandt - trainer of the year for 2002 - who spoke to Mnguni on Wednesday said the latter wished the boxers the best of luck.

"He said he heard the rumour that they had left but I told him that they were with me and he wished them good luck.

"It is unfortunate. Fighters come and go. If Ndou wishes to join Mnguni, will he not accept him?

"This is where I earn the living," said Durandt who returned home last week after his failed mission to guide Philip Ndou to ending Floyd Mayweather's reign as the WBC lightweight title holder in the US two weeks ago.

Durandt, who has been a trainer for 13 years, has produced 52 national, seven world, five international and two All African champions in his Bree Street, Johannesburg gym.

"To be joined by top name fighters of Makepula and Myekeni's calibre means that I am doing something right," he said.

Makepula, the former top Olympian who carried the South African flag in the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, is the former WBU, WBO junior flyweight and IBO flyweight champion.

The 30-year-old boxer, who failed to wrest the IBO crown from Mzukisi Sikali last month, has been with Mnguni since his amateur days.

Myekeni, the current IBO junior flyweight titlist, has not donned boxing gloves since February when he registered the first defence against Filipino Wyndel Janiola.

"Look, there were talks when I was still in the US with Philip, but I was under the impression that they will join me next year because the year is almost over.

"But they joined me on Wednesday and they are here to stay," said the man whose gym boasts about 45 professional fighters.

Durandt's two other boxers, IBO junior bantamweight champion Silence Mabuza, and national welterweight king Joseph Makaringe, will be in action against Khulile Makeba and an Argentinean boxer on November 25 and 28 respectively. - Sapa