PROMINENT Mzansi boxing trainer, Alan Toweel, believes his newly crowned Gauteng cruiserweight champion, Akani “Prime” Phuzi, is the next big thing on the South African boxing scene.
The hard-punching 23-year-old blew away Chris “The Wolf” Thompson in the second round of their grudge rematch to claim the vacant provincial belt at Blairgowrie Recreation Centre in Randburg on Sunday.
Despite Phuzi’s spectacular victory his mentor says he is not in a hurry to challenge for the national title held by the experienced Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu from KwaZulu-Natal.
“After that knockout victory I believe Akani will be South African boxing’s next big thing. He has all the qualities of a star. He came into the championship contest mentally and physical prepared, that is why he made a difficult fight easy,” said Toweel.
“He fought a good fight, we planned to start at a slow pace and pick it up as the rounds went on. We were ready to go distance. In the opening round I saw Thompson moving on Akani’s right hand when he throws jabs and told him to counter. And that was the end of the fight,” he said.
The Boxing South Africa 2017 Trainer of the Year nominee says despite Phuzi’s consistently fine performances he still needs to gain more experience before he can be matched with the big guns in the cruiserweight class. Toweel said he would organise a warm-up fight for Phuzi in June and then a fight for the World Boxing Association Pan African title later this year.
“Most definitely he is the next big thing! Akani is a rough diamond that needs to be polished into a beautiful gem. He has the characteristics of a star. Akani is a hard hitter and can take a punch too, he still uses the old school boxing methods,” he added.
The promising fighter from Malamulele in Giyani, Limpopo, is still unbeaten after four outings. Three of his opponents did not even get to hear the last gong.