Flo Simba, who hasn’t fought since 2012, will make his return to the ring at Emperors Palace next month.
He will feature on the undercard of the SA junior-welterweight title fight between Warren Joubert and Grant Fourie.
It’s an exciting turn of events for Simba, who has been on the outer ever since back-to-back one-round losses to Thabiso Mchunu. Both defeats were surprising in that Simba never appeared himself, and so it proved as he was found to be suffering the debilitating effects of sugar diabetes.
Golden Gloves sent him off to get sorted out, promoter Rodney Berman saying that he wouldn’t work with him until he had a medical clearance.
In the interim, Simba consulted a battery of doctors and medical experts and now has his condition under control. Remarkably, he never stopped training and could be found at Harold Volbrecht’s gym on a daily basis. The heavyweight never lost his passion for the sport and was a frequent visitor to tournaments, no doubt eager to return to action himself.
Berman explained his decision: “Flo is an exceptional young man. It was never our idea to ditch him because he lost, but he had serious health problems and it was a worrying time. He continued to train religiously and remains a rolemodel and drawcard.
“He wants to fight and rather than have him go to an irresponsible promoter, we want to give him another opportunity. But we’ll take baby steps to gauge how he looks. He is still young and assures me he wants to fight 100 percent. We’ll monitor his fighting carefully and do so responsibly.
“I don’t want to undermine Mchunu, but Flo’s sugar levels adversely affected his sugar levels. He never lost because he can’t take a punch. He lost because he was weakened by illness.”
His return offers great intrigue to the local fight scene. At his best Simba was an explosive hitter blessed with power and speed. Charismatic to boot, he looked for all the world like a champion in the making.
With luck, April 13 will be a great step back on the road to redemption.