Berman signs Munyai - by Terry Pettifer
The Golden Gloves Promotional Empire
is about to expand, and according
to consortium CEO Rodney Berman,
the acquisition of Tshifhiwa “Atomic
Spider” Munyai (18-1-1), who is one of the most exciting young fighters in
South Africa at present, will substantially
bolster his stable for 2010.
“Munyai is trained by one of our
erstwhile mentors, Elias Tshabalala,
and I’ve no doubt that he has the potential
to win a world title” said
Experts will recall that the experienced
Tshabalala resurrected the flagging
career of Dingaan Thobela, and
against all odds, steered the “Rose of
Soweto” to the WBC super middleweight
title. Moreover, insofar as
coaching expertise is concerned, Tshabalala
is one of the most respected trainers in the country, and as Berman
said, “It’s great to have our ‘Prodigal
Son’ back in the fold”.
The 24-year-old Munyai stunned the
boxing world in June 2006 when, with
a record of 10-0-1, he left the country
for the first time to box abroad against
England’s Martin Power for the vacant
Commonwealth bantamweight crown.
Although Power came into that contest
with an unblemished record of 19-0
and was the holder of the British bantamweight
title, he was totally outclassed
by Munyai who stopped him in
the 9th round of their contest in London’s
Following his victory at the York Hall, the colourful South African returned there, where he successfully defended his Commonwealth crown via a 6th round stoppage of Commonwealth flyweight kingpin Lee Haskins. In January 2007, he met Powers in a rematch at the Goresbrook Leisure Center in Dagenam, and after four one-sided rounds, Powers retired in his corner, claiming an elbow injury.
fought twice more in the
UK and moved up to featherweight,
where he scored two 8-round victories over Harry Ramogoadi and Abdul Tebazi, before returning to South Africa.
In February 2008, Munyai challenged Argentina’s Julio David Roque Ler for the WBA Intercontinental bantamweight title in Bloemfontein, and won an impressive points victory over 12 rounds. The “Atomic Spider” returned to Britain in July 2008, but in a featherweight bout over 8 rounds, he was beaten for the first time in his career on points by Ghana’s Osumana Akaba. After his only setback thus far, Munyai again resumed fighting in his homeland, and in defence of his WBA Intercontinental crown, he beat fellow countryman Bongani Mahlangu. Though the bout was determined by a split decision, it is good to remember that at the time Mahlangu was the reigning WBA Pan African bantamweight titleholder. In his last bout, in July this year, Munyai halted Galley Cudjoe by means of a 1st round knockout in Johannesburg.
PIET PELSER DIES AT 54!
One of South Africa’s longest serving
boxing journalists, Pieter Pelser, died
in Cape Town recently at the age of
Pelser, who spent most of his life in
Pretoria, had been suffering from a
heart condition since 2004. The Citizen
newspaper’s boxing correspondent
for many years, Pelser was a
former amateur boxer himself and
was included in my ‘Top 20 SA Boxing
Writers’ resume in “No Punches
Pelser was a deeply religious, dedicated
journalist who had a fine understanding
of the sport and who can ever forget his unique sense of humor, like the time he said of former world heavyweight champion Leon Spinks; “The only guys who haven’t beaten him are the guys who haven’t fought him!”
More than most, Pelser had a great
fundamental knowledge of the fears
and regrets of the fighters themselves,
and I happen to know, from
our trips overseas, that he valued the
time he spent with his family above all
At St Pete’s Beach, Florida, when
Piet and I were there prior to flying to
Connecticut for Corrie Sanders’ WBU
heavyweight title bout with Bobby
Cysz in 1998, he was moved to say, “We’re just guests at a rich man’s
party”, obviously alluding to all the
stars we’d met in the week before the
A teetotaler, Piet was amazed at the
fact that I swam out to sea at 4 am in
Florida, and when he discovered that there were no shark nets in the area, he laughingly remarked; “They (the sharks) probably thought you were a blonde-haired dolphin”.
A man with the courage of his convictions,
Pelser became a bona fide boxing
expert at a time when SA boxing needed
him most, and his essays were always
fair, interesting and unbiased.
No doubt the timekeeper in that ‘golden ring’ in the sky will keep that in mind, when Piet climbs through the ropes.
So long champ!