Sun Sep 21 10:05:24 SAST 2014

He's another Ngidi

Dec 10, 2012 | BONGANI MAGASELA |

BOXING prospect Keith "Baby Beast" Nkosi rewrote the boxing history of Mbali, a township of Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, last week by winning the African Boxing Union (ABU) junior lightweight title.

MAKING HISTORY: Keith Nkosi. Picture by Bafana Mahlangu

It has been 54 years since that part of the country produced a creditable champion in the form of Joe "Axe Killer" Ngidi from Edendale.

Ngidi won the welterweight title in June 1956 before adding the middleweight strap in December of the same year.

Ngidi fought dogs of war such as Enoch "Schoolboy" Nhlapo and Willie Ludick, as well as feared Americans Jimmy Martinez, Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter and Curtis Cokes in his 98 fights.

Ngidi won 75 of those battles and chalked up 30 stoppages and drew twice. His last fight was on May 27 1972. The legend died on March 1 1990 at the age of 55.

Eric "Prince" Nxumalo tried to pick up Ngidi's axe, but could win only two lesser recognised belts - provincial titles - in the welter and junior middleweight divisions.

Mbali township then began producing prominent people in other spheres of life, including soccer players such as Mbulelo Mabizela and Derrick Spencer, SABC presenter Lindani Mbense and Gugu Mtshali, a businesswoman who is romantically involved with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Last Monday Nkosi (22) was able to create a paradigm shift.

The charismatic boxer, who is in veteran trainer Harold Volbrecht's stable in Gauteng, restored Mbali's lost pride.

He produced a huge upset by stopping hot favourite Warren "The Warrior" Joubert in the first round at Emperors Palace.

Nkosi attributed his feat to his belief in God.

"Hard training and dedication also paid off," he says.

"I surprised myself. I didn't expect it to be a one- round fight."

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