Seven wins, seven first round knockouts. That’s the story of hot prospect Sabelo “Saint” Ngebiyana, who recently came knocking on trainer Colin Nathan’s door.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Nathan welcomed him in and already likes what he sees from the left-handed junior-bantamweight.
Just 23, the former Cape Town fighter wants to get going in his career, hence his move to Johannesburg where action and opportunity is guaranteed.
“I’m here to pursue my dream to become a world champion,” he said after training. “I’ve now got the best coach and am determined to put in the hard work.”
Nathan admits he had never heard of Ngebiyana (7-1) until a few months ago when Cape Town boxing personality Tony Capazario, concerned about the direction of the aspirant fighter’s career, sounded him out. Capazario then sent Nathan a fight clip of Ngebiyana knocking an opponent unconscious. As luck would have it, Nathan was doing ringside commentary in East London three weeks ago when Ngebiyana stepped up for his eighth fight. The boxer acknowledged Nathan with a dutiful wink and then unleashed a flurry of punches on Ronnie Chiloane, ending the business in the first.
“He caught him with a left uppercut and did what he had to do,” said an impressed Nathan. “He’s still young and very ambitious. I see this as the start of a relationship, not a one-night stand. I just want to see him succeed.”
Ngebiyana estimates he had 100-plus amateur fights and competed twice at the national championships, giving him the right sort of foundation to embark on a career in the pros. “My only hero was myself, I didn’t look up to anyone else,” he said. “I would look in the mirror and promise myself success.”
Nathan has already arranged him a sponsor in Brian Wysoke and is looking forward to a fresh start with the youngster, notwithstanding predictable chatter in Cape Town claiming Nathan “poached” Ngebiyana.
“It’s nonsense. Sabelo wanted to move and it was never at my urging. It’s always good to have new talent come through the door,” said Nathan, himself a former Capetonian. “All my top guys go through the office of Golden Gloves. He knocks guys out, so there’s little I can teach him about power. The areas we will work on are conditioning, ring generalship and defence. I really think he’s going to go places.”