Its crunchtime as Ndou defends title against Mwelase - by Jeff Ellis

South Africa’s Limpopo-born Lovemore Ndou (47-11-2) and Meadowlands scrapper Bongani “Cyclones” Mwelase (14-0) have offered us marginally less than we’d come to expect from two such carnival characters about to enter the ring on September 18 for a pot-full-ofgold and some earnest ring plaudits. Yet while the IBO world welterweight champion Ndou, 39-year-old this summer, has gladly pursued any interviews going and together with his trainer Harold Volbrecht even offered to consider other South African principles as opponent once our Australia-resident has purported finished with Mwelase, the loudmouthed Soweto boxer Cyclones has
purposefully been conspicuous by his absence.

Ignored interviews and television plugs have now become part of Mwelase’s “racket”, and one can only guess whether he is spending more time with his trainer Johnny du Plooy in behind-the- scenes-action at his gymnasium, or
walking his favourite part of Meadowlands.

That Mwelase has a built up a name sometime like his trainer Johnny du Plooy, is regrettable and from this distance one can only hope that the former highly rated heavyweight contender will apply more care to his boxers needs than he did himself. Indeed Golden Gloves Promoter Rodney Berman is already speculating whether Mwelase has the heart to stay 12-rounds with as relentless a fighter as Ndou.

For his part Du Plooy has remained mum and all he will say is that his hardhitting
challenger will “win the title anytime he has a mind to”.

Purse money we cannot speculate on, at least at this junction, but I’d say that
after the “CRUNCH TIME” spectacle that has experts as keenly divided as any
championship bout in recent history, defending champion Ndou, will come home
pleased with what he feels will be a gratifying instalment for risking his IBO
world welterweight title for a second time in the space of ten years.

Lovemore, who emigrated to Australia in 1995, and after previously returning
to draw with Mthobeli Mhlophe for the national super featherweight title, made
his name and reputation there by being one of the world’s leading protagonists
from New South Wales, is no more closer to quitting the ring than he was five years ago.

It was hard work but Ndou eventually got there and besides trading blows with
some of the hardest fighters in the world, he eventually won the IBF junior welterweight by beating Naoufel Ben Rabah (W RTD 11) in February 2007.

Ndou lost the title to the clever-boxing Paul Malignaggi (L UD 12) and appeared
somewhat unlucky not to beat Malignaggi in a return bout that went down to a “judges decision”.

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, Lovemore answered Golden
Gloves Promoter’s Rodney Berman call, and after coffering with the IBO welterweight and South African Premier Promoters, Ndou handily defeated his name sack Phillip Ndou at Emperors Palace last July 2009 for the vacant IBO world welterweight title.

“It was a good fight I expect, but in all truth I was looking for a far harder bout”
said Ndou.

It wasn’t long before Ndou risked his title in Britain only two months later, and
his bout with Matthew Hatton (Rickie Hatton’s) was probably way to close for
comfort and afterwards everyone agreed that it was probably a draw.

“That was fair” said the golden-toothed Ndou, “but now I want this guy Mwelase
and even though he’s bigger than me, that makes no difference because I intend
holding this title for a long space of time. After that we’ll be speaking Hatton
and the list of South African contenders, several of whom would be an excellent
match” concluded Ndou.