Colin Nathan - by Pete Moscardi
When Hekkie Budler was boarding his return flight to Johannesburg after beating his Mexican opponent, Evaristo Primero in Laredo, Texas in August 2010, his trainer, Colin Nathan, was high-tailing it off to Los Angeles where he was to undergo and 10-day period of mentorship under the sage guidance of his boxing tutor, Freddie Roach.
"I did this out of my own pocket and it cost me a small fortune, but it was one hundred percent worth it," he says. The objective of doing this was to learn as much as he could from the man whom Colin describes as "the best trainer I have ever seen" in order to improve his ability as a trainer.
Nathan makes a second pilgrimage to the US in December, and this time there is a dual purpose to his journey. Rodney Berman has indicated his faith and confidence in the 33-year-old owner of the HotBox Boxing Gym in Glenhazel by appointing him to represent Golden Gloves at the 49th conference of the WBC to be held in Las Vegas commencing on 10 December. On completion of the conference, Colin will fly on to Los Angeles to renew his friendship with Freddie Roach and will spend another 10-day stint at Roach's Wild Card Gym in LA.
"My mandate from Rodney is to promote the fighters he has in the Golden Gloves stable, to provide a strong South African presence at the conference and to network with other promoters," he explains. Colin regards his week at the Las Vegas convention as a high prestige event in his life. "I feel honoured that Rodney Berman has put his confidence in me," he says.
While Colin is agog with excitement at the prospect of attending the WBC convention, he is also over the moon at the prospect of placing himself under the capable stewardship of Roach. Commenting on the benefit he gained from his first session at the Wild Card Gym in August last year, Colin says:"I learnt a lot of new and valuable techniques which differ from those practiced here. I learnt how to tape hands, the different techniques while working on the pads and also we did a lot of angle work. I was lucky enough to have struck up an excellent rapport with Freddie and he took an interest in me on both a working and personal level."
Colin has no doubt that this 10-day coaching stint has improved him as a trainer and he also has no doubts that his fighters have benefited from his improved skills. "Take Hekkie Budler for example. He fought a real toughie in Michael Landero the last time out and he showed that he had improved tremendously in both his attack and defense. He was doing things in his fight with Landero that he has never done before - and all this was because I was able to pass on to him what I had learnt from Freddie."
Colin sees his second trip to Roach's fight factory as a continuation of the study course he undertook in August. "You can never learn too much in this game and I know that I will come back a better trainer. This means that my boxers will ultimately benefit from my enhanced knowledge and skills," he says.
Colin's HotBox Gym is bustling with young talent and there are exciting fighters who have just been, or are about to be, launched on the fistic scene. "I have training in the gym right now Hekkie Budler; who dropped down a weight to win the IBO Straw weight title when beating Landero, and I also have Ryno Liebenberg, Joey Stiglingh, Alan Bouwer, Adam de Moor, Sean Ness, Ashleigh Dlamini and Marlon Verster. My stable of boxers has been referred to as 'the young lions', and this is a title I would not disagree with," he says.