By Malibongwe Tokwe
Maliboxing is back with the exciting interview of the great former boxing champion
Isaac “The Angel ” Hlatshwayo
Isaac Nduma Hlatshwayo was born in Shisasi Village, Malamulele on 10 November 1977. Like any other great fighter from that region he was introduced to boxing by the legendary boxing trainer Eric Baloyi, the father of the former multiple world champion Cassious Baloyi.
At his early age he was a good soccer player who was always finding himself in trouble, continuously fighting and beating the other young boys in and out of the football fields. His family decided to hand him over to Mr Baloyi hoping that he was going to be tamed by the punches from the other boxers and eventually stop fighting other kids, that did not work well, from that day on, he never looked back, he fought his way up from the amateur to pro rankings, winning the world titles and recognized by the global boxing community as he showed great abilities of boxing, talent and will, when he beat Nate Campbell on the 7th of April of the year 2006 in a bout that is now featured in ESPN Boxing Classics.
“I always watched boxing on TV even though I played soccer, when my hands went inside the boxing gloves for the very first time, I knew that boxing was my calling, I had this extra ordinary feeling I cannot explain, I just did not want to take them off, I wanted to go on and on punching the bag” he proclaimed.
Isaac dedicated 13 years of his life to the sport of boxing with the record of 38 professional boxing fights with only 6 losses.
- The former South African lightweight champion
- The former IBO lightweight champion
- The former IBO welterweight champion
- The former IBF welterweight champion
Isaac is proud to reflect that he did not have to look far to learn boxing advance tactics, he had Cassius Baloyi in the same gym he trained in. He watched him very closely and learnt all the tricks of the fighting game.
In his prime he beat each and every great South African fighter they matched him with, he won against great fighters such as Mabuza, Makaringe, Baloyi, Ndou, Malinga, Buhlalu, Lewele, one of the great record against high quality level of opposition.
The Champ vividly remembers his grandpa who told him to forget about any other sport and focus to boxing, “If I did not listen to my Grandpa, I doubt if I would have achieved what I have achieved in life, pity he never saw me becoming the world champion” he said.
Isaac’s relationship with his trainer Manny Fernandez was extra ordinary, they understood each other very well and absolutely difficult to beat. Manny studied his opponents and always worked out the perfect plan, and Isaac executed perfectly. Their team sponsored by Bull Brand, Isaac and Manny was the pair that was the main agenda in South African boxing.
Isaac hails another late South African boxing extra ordinary figure Terry “Terrible Tolerance” Pettifer who watched his first fight and went to his trainer Manny and told him, “He is the Angel” .
The champ talks about his ups and downs in his career, he talks about the loss of Jan Zaveck fight on Dec of the year 2009, one of his worst performance, “I was handed the court summons few days before the fight, my mind was just not there” he said those words with sadness expression in his face.
He goes further and elaborate that the late Nick Durandt was behind all that because he did not take it well when he left him after his contract was over, and went back to Manny Fernandez camp, “it was the right thing to do at that point of my career”
Isaac mentions that those things are in the past, and Nick Durandt (RIP) contributed well in his career, and for that he is thankful.
The Angel reflects to the family meetings that were held between the Baloyi’s and the Hlatshwayo’s for them not to ever fight, due to obvious reasons to protect the family strong relationship that has always been there in those families.
“When I heard that Baloyi signed the contract while I was mourning the death of my brother, I was shocked, I was always in the sense that we will never fight, I knew that they were trying to take advantage of my devastated state as I lost my brother, and that made me to be even more stronger, hence I won decisively” he explained.
“Phillip Ndou angered me when he said that he cannot be beaten by the Tsonga boy, that statement was racist hence we scuffled in the SABC offices before that fight in the media press, I was mad when he said that” he recalled.
I would like to thank Isaac for the great interview he gave maliboxing, I will never forget the night he executed the perfect beating of Joseph Makaringe in a one sided match on the 12th May 2007 for the vacant IBO welterweight title.
The fast runner/sprinter former champion has been a great champion for South Africa. His boxing commentary on radio is just as good as he fought, he is a very insightful and objective commentator when calling fights.
Ladies and gentleman enjoy the interview of the great champion Isaac “The Angel” Hlatshwayo
Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2
Hlatshwayo vs Campbell-ESPN Classic