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The First Candidate For Trainer Of The Year 2009 - Gert Strydom - by Jeff Ellis

Most times the background trainers go unnoticed Gert Strydom is a typical example.

His dedication and commitment has never really been acknowledged. Taken more for granted because of his helpful and willing nature, his ability as a trainer was suppressed. However that has all changed dramatically. The turning point came on the 4th November 2006 at Emperors Palace when Gert Strydom came of age. Installed as chief trainer of Malcolm Klassen in his first world title challenge, Strydom’s performance was a noticeable.

As the story goes Manny Fernandes had the unfortunate and difficult choice of having to stay and assist Malcolm with his challenge for the world title or leave with Isaac Hlatshwayo who was scheduled to fight on the same night in the USA. Fernandes opted to take Hlatshwayo to America for sentiment reasons and you cannot blame him for the choice he made. Isaac Hlatshwayo had joined Manny straight from the amateurs and their relationship was gold. Fate would have it that Strydom was left to look after Malcolm Klassen’s world title challenge against Gairy St. Clair.

The relationship between Gert and Malcolm Klassen was cemented that night at Emperors Palace. Malcolm’s superb condition was evident and so the journey began.

Strydom’s potential was again highlighted when he was called upon to train Klassen for his second challenge for the title he had won and lost.

Strydom working out of the Danie van Zyl Sport Centre in Newlands - west of Johannesburg – now has the distinction of having won two IBF world titles as challenger in two attempts. The future looks bright for this hard working and likeable trainer. The wheel has turned - so to speak – for Strydom. This sudden fame will not hinder his love for the youngsters and he will continue to assist the amateurs by joining hands with former Springbok and top contender Shaun Moorcraft.

Gert also boasts the acquisition of South African and All African Jnr. Featherweight Champion Jasper Seroka 18-0-1 (8 by KO). Ironically Jasper’s only loss is to Malcolm Klassen way back in 2003. Mvuhuso Nedzanani South African Jnr. Bantamweight Champion and WBF World Champion (he has just relinquished the title to move up a division) has also sought the services of Gert Strydom. Obviously Strydom is doing something right.

In addition to the above – enter Mark Hey of - Hey Sports Management. Mark is in a different way making waves in boxing circles. Mark is the manager of 21-year-old current welterweight Baby Champ Mthobisi Buthelezi 9-0-0 (5 byKO) along with 18–year-old Jnr. Bantamweight Nkosinathi Ximba 0-1-0 and 18- year-old Sydney Mokgolo (yet to make his debut). He is also a Promoter and is involved in promoting a number of the Baby Champs tournaments. Mark has taken his fighters to Gert Strydom and now assists Gert in the roll of Second.