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IBO world champions Kevin Lerena and Tulani Mbenge face off in boxing awards

29 April 2019 - 12:55 By David Isaacson
Kevin Lerena during the No Mercy Box & Dine event at Emperors Palace on March 16, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kevin Lerena during the No Mercy Box & Dine event at Emperors Palace on March 16, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

IBO world champions Kevin Lerena and Tulani Mbenge go up against each other in the battle for South Africa’s Boxer of the Year award for 2018.

The nominees were announced on Monday by Boxing SA at Uncle Tom’s hall in Soweto‚ once a furnace of black boxing during apartheid.

Lerena and Mbenge are among five nominees for the male boxer of the year‚ the winner being named at the Boxing Awards ceremony at the Sandton Convention Centre on May 17.

Azinga Fuzile is also in the running‚ alongside Roland Malindi and Yanga Sigqibo.

Notable omissions were Hekkie Budler and Moruti Mthalane.

Male Boxer was one of only three of 15 categories to get five nominees.

The others are male prospect and trainer of the year.

There’s a battle royale for trainer‚ with the nominees being Shaun Smith‚ Colin Nathan‚ Alan Toweel‚ Lionel Hunter and Emil Bryce.

The winners of the male and female boxers‚ prospects and fights of the year‚ as well as Knockout of the year will receive R15‚000.

The nominees:

Male Boxer of the Year: Ynga Sigqibo, Ronald Malindi, Azinga Fuzile, Tulani Mbenge, Kevin Lerena.

Female Boxer of Year: Bukiwe Nonina, Mellisa Miller, Thema Zuma.

Male Fight of the Year: Lara v Nhlanhla Ngamntwini, Mzoxolo Ndwayana v Shaun Ness, Roarke Knapp v Eric Kapia.

Female Fight of the Year: Sandisiwe Mncube v Matshidiso Mokebisi, Ndobayini Kholosa v Hedda Wolmarans, Asandiswa v Sherodine Fortuin.

Male Prospect of the Year: Ayabonga Sonjica, Nhlanhla Tyirha, Sivenathi Nontshinga, Jabulani Makhense, Lebo Mashitoa.

Female Prospect of the Year: Simangele Hadebe, Thema Zuma, Nontuthuzelo Cithani.

Media Person of the Year: Hayden Jones, Christo Smith, Thabiso Mosia.

Female Ring Official of the Year: Siya Vabaza, Namhla Tyuluba, Pumeza Zinakile.

Male Ring Official of the Year: Deon Dwarte, Alan Matakane, Simon Mokadi.

Most Promising Ring Official of the Year: Simphiwe Gceba, Thandi Ngodwana, Kedibone Phetlho.

Knockout of the Year: Zolani Tete v Siboniso Gonya, Akani Phuzi v Chris Thompson, Michael Mokoena v Lusanda Komanisi.

Trainer of the Year: Sean Smith, Colin Nathan, Alan Toweel, Lionel Hunter, Emil Bryce.

Promoter of the Year: Tshele Kometsi (TK Boxing Promotions), Sandile Xaka (Supreme Boxing Promotions), Teris Ntutu (Rumble Africa Promotions).

Most Promising Promoter of the Year: Meme Dipheko (Team Dida Promotion), Xolani Mampunye (Last Born Promotions), Zandile Malinga (Starline Boxing Promotion).

Manager of the Year: Colleen McAusland, Lonwabo Witbooi, Mutavhatsindi Immanuel.