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Annual Boxing SA Awards - by Ron Jackson

IBF junior bantamweight champion Simphiwe Nongqayi has won the SA boxer of the year award for 2009.

The announcement was made at the annual Boxing SA awards ceremony near Pretoria at the St George Hotel on April 23.

Nongqayi beat Francisco Arce in an IBF eliminator last year and won the vacant IBF junior bantamweight belt when he outpointed the Mexican’s brother Jorge.

The IBF junior lightweight title clash between Malcolm Klassen and Cassius Baloyi in Mafikeng on April 18 last year was named fight of the year.

Exciting young junior heavyweight Florante Simba, who burst on to the scene in 2009 and won three fights inside the distance, was named prospect of the year despite strong competition from heavyweight prospect Johnny Muller.

Nick Durandt cleaned up by winning the awards in both the manager and trainer of the year categories.

Jeff Ellis, promoter and publisher of African Ring received a well deserved special achievement award.

Siphato Handi, from the Eastern Cape, was named promoter of the year and Siya Vabaza, from the same province, won the ring official of the year award.

Bongani Magasela received the media personality of the year award.

Fewer SA title and “world” title fights were presented in 2009. There were only 24 SA title fights, compared with 29 in 2008. In “world” title fights, South Africans were involved 22 against 27 in 2008.

There were no SA title fights in the heavyweight, light-heavyweight and middleweight divisions.