FORMER International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior-featherweight and IBO featherweight titlist Vuyani ‘‘The Beast’’ Bungu believes that unbeaten IBF Intercontinental junior-lightweight champion Azinga ‘‘Golden Boy’’ Fuzile is going to walk away with the Male Boxer of the Year award at the South African Boxing Awards function.
The awards will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Friday.
Bungu, a winner of the 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998 Boxer of the Year award, has picked Fuzile as a deserving winner as he believes that the Duncan Village-born boxer has done enough to win the award even though the former world champion has admitted that the Male Boxer of the Year category is tightly-contested.
Fuzile has been pitted in this category against IBO cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena, IBO welterweight king Thulani Mbenge, African Boxing Union (ABU) bantamweight champion Ronald Malindi and Yanga Sigqibo, who is current World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Intercontinental junior-bantamweight champion.
‘‘The competition is very tight in this category. Getting nominated for a category like this means a lot to boxers as it shows that boxing people have noticed their skills inside the ring and winning the award is going to be a cherry on top,’’ the Mdantsane-born Bungu, who also won the 1996 and 1997 Fight of the Year categories for his fights against Jesus Salud and Kenned McKinney respectively, said.
The 52-year-old Bungu added: ‘‘I think the real competition for this award is between Fuzile and Lerena as both boxers have done well in their respective divisions. However, I would go for Fuzile if I’m forced to choose the winner. Fuzile has consistently performed and is yet to lose a fight.’’
Fuzile, who bagged the Prospect of the Year award at the 2016 South African Boxing Awards in Durban and lost to World Boxing Organisation (WBO) in the Male Boxer of the Year category at the 2017 awards ceremony in Port Elizabeth, won all his three fights against Immanuel Andeleki, Waidi Usman and former world champion Malcolm Klassen by stoppages in the period under review for the awards.
On the other hand, Lerena made two successful defences of his title against Dmytro Kucher and Roman Golovashchenko last year. Lerena also lost to Tete in the Male Boxer of the Year category at the 2017 ceremony.