Cape Town – EFC bantamweight champion Sindile Manengela never thinks twice of giving credit where it’s due.
The man does not only possess the qualities and characteristics of a champion, but that of an awesome human being, too.
And so when he was asked whose brilliant decision it was to move down to bantamweight, the man did not think twice of praising his coach and South African combat sport legend.
“It was the one and only Chris Bright,” says Sindile (8-6) who was crowned champion at EFC 90 two weeks back after beating former champion Faeez Jacobs (7-4) via split decision in a five-round battle.
“Coach Chris hinted at this for a couple of years, but I was playing deaf. Then at the end of 2019 he asked if I can cut to bantamweight, but he promised to help me along the way. So he monitored my weight, diet and training routine for a couple of months before we made the decision.”
The move proved to be a masterstroke as it would send Sindile on a four-fight winning streak (with only one of those four fights being in the featherweight division).
Prior to that, Sindile had a mixed bag of results in the featherweight division with two losses and only one win between 2017 and 2018.
Today, Sindile sits at the throne of the 61-kilogram division.
“It feels great man, it's one of those feelings you can't explain,” says the Port Elizabeth Submission Fighting Academy athlete.
“There is such a big difference in being champion, people don’t miss me, they recognize me, they want selfies, telling me how proud they are of me,” says Sindile on what it’s like being a champion.
“This belt means the world to me, it's something that I was dreaming about for years. I'm 100 % sure that it brings hope to my people not only in Gqeberha, but in the Eastern Cape as a whole,” says Sindile who is just another voice that is calling out of more backing of sports, arts and cultural development in the Eastern Cape, a province rich in talented individuals who unfortunately don’t all get the chance to live up to their potential.
When asked what the future holds for him, Sindile is keen on building and honing his skills in the Extreme Fighting Championship, defending the belt a few more times.
“That is the goal before we make any decisions, however, getting another belt overseas (should we get that Visa in time) is on the cards, too.”
For the immediate future, all that Team PESFA will be focusing on is Sindile’s teammate, Luthando Biko (8-3) getting that flyweight belt at EFC91 next month.
Former interim bantamweight champion, Luthando and former flyweight and bantamweight champion, Nkazimulo Zulu (13-4) battled it out for the title at EFC89, Zulu won that fight in the second round via a sneaky guillotine choke after Luthando had dominated for the duration of the first round. Zulu was ineligible for the title due to missing weight, though, thus setting up another mouth-watering clash in the festive season.
And Team PESFA would love nothing more than to be Father Christmas and bring the kids of the Eastern Cape not only two belts, but also two warriors of hope back home to remind them that there is a future for all in the area.