Xolisani Ndongeni will compete during July. Photo: Christiaan Kotze
JOHANNESBURG – Determined not to let Xolisani Ndongeni wither on the vine after the disastrous events of last Sunday, promoter Rodney Berman has found room for him on a tournament initially planned to be a “nursery” event.

Ndongeni was set to fight Razak Nettey in Stellenbosch on May 28, but the entire event was called off at the last minute because promoter Mzoli Tempe never lodged his deposit with Boxing South Africa.

The 27-year-old lightweight, nicknamed "Nomeva", isiXhosa for wasp, will now headline the July 23 event at Emperors Palace.

“I cannot in all conscience allow a world-rated fighter to remain inactive,” said Berman. “This has necessitated a reversal of balance. Co-opting Nomeva to this bill at the expense of young fighters who will now, unfortunately, lose another opportunity to further their careers.”

Berman found it impossible to hold his tongue after the 11th-hour cancellation of the Cape Town tournament Nomeva was to headline.

“I never believed I would voice my displeasure publicly, but, regrettably, matters are going from bad to worse with cancelled tournaments and champions threatened with being stripped of their titles for failure to defend, even though this is unconstitutional. Something needs to be done drastically, or the future looks very bleak for our fighters,” Berman said.

As he mentioned, the roll-on effect is substantial. Young pros are also affected, forced to feed off the scraps that constitute the hit-and-miss SA boxing calendar.

Colin Nathan, Ndongeni's trainer, was grateful upon hearing the news.

“Nomeva was very down after Sunday's debacle. He’s had awful luck and been treated poorly by a succession of promoters. But Golden Gloves has come through for us, so I’m delighted," Nathan said.

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