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Boxing | Features

Loyiso Mtya (L) and Gert Steyn © Jeff Ellis

Boxing boss packed a punch

The hands that now hold the reins at Boxing SA used to be covered in leather when Loyiso Mtya was a more than useful fighter.

Mtya, who is in his second stint as the body’s acting chief executive, had 26 professional fights in the 1970s and ‘80s and took on the likes of Gert Steyn, Terrence Makaluza, Joseph Hali and Cameron Adams.

At 1.89 m, he was one of the tallest SA junior middleweights in history and he certainly knows the inside of the ring better than most officials. He also made a solid contribution to the sport as a trainer, manager, television commentator and administrator.

A southpaw, Mtya began boxing seriously as an amateur in 1971 and two years later reached the finals of the national championships in which he lost by default when he was overweight.

He was born in the Eastern Cape and qualified as a teacher. Among his pupils was Guy Ratazayo who fought Evan Gwiji for the vacant SA junior lightweight title in February 1980. He lost on points over twelve rounds.

Mtya, then still a teacher and with John Madyaka as trainer and manager, made his professional debut on August 31 1974 when he outpointed Mzwandile Mqanto over four rounds.

He remained undefeated in his next eight fights and then took on 83-fight veteran and former SA junior middleweight and middleweight champion Gordon Goba and outscored him over six rounds.

On November 6 1976, Mtya drew with Terrence Makaluza, whose camp promptly demanded a return. Five months later Mtya knocked out Makaluza in the tenth round in Makaluza’s hometown of Port Elizabeth.

Makaluza later became a judge and referee and handled a number of national and international fights.

Mtya won the Cape junior middleweight title in his next fight when outpointed Cape Town’s Joseh Hali over ten rounds. A little more than six months later Hali caused an upset when he stopped the unbeaten Charlie Weir in five rounds.

On December 10 1977 Mtya won the vacant SA junior middleweight title for black boxers when he stopped Morgan Moledi in the tenth round at the Mdantsane Stadium near East London.

He was then knocked out in a fight against David Motlengwa before he fought Gert Steyn at the Wembley Ice Rink in Johannesburg for the “supreme” SA junior middleweight title. The promoter was Raymond Slack. p>

A disappointing crowd of between 800 and 1 000 spectators saw Mtya get into the ring with useful height and reach advantages. But he was no match for the chunky Steyn who scored with hooks from the first round until Mtya retired in the fifth round.

In 1979, Mtya beat Volfart Rala and David Klaas to regain the Cape junior middleweight title. In the next two years he won only against Cameron Adams, Thorton Oakes and Coenie Bekker but lost inside the distance to Bruce McIntyre, twice, Coenie Bekker and Prince Tukane.

On March 27 1982, Tukane stopped him in the fifth round of a challenge for the Cape light-heavyweight title. It was his last fight and he retired with a record of 17-7-2, including 5 wins inside the distance.


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