Angel in the Wings

BY Deon Potgieter ON September 17, 2004
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With a style resembling that of Rocky Graciano, Isaac “The Angel” Hlatsywayo is a boxer to watch in the near future.

Currently enjoying a top ten rating in both the WBC and WBA ratings, Hlatswayo has relinquished his South African lightweight title, which he successfully defended 5 times, to pursue International honours. He is targeting an October 16 match with another South African, Lovemore Ndou (39W-7 L-1D-25KO’s) in Ndou’s new home country of Australia.

Although Ndou is the current IBF junior welterweight pan pacific champion, this won’t be the first time “The Angel” moves up in weight to prove his class. He holds non-title wins over South African junior welterweight champion Lucky Lewele, as well as the WBF welterweight world champion Samuel Malinga. In his last outing Hlatswayo battered former WBC lightweight world title contender Phillip “The timebomb” Ndou in a split decision win over 12 rounds. I thought Ndou edged the fight, but not enough so to argue the split decision result.

Hlatswayo is undefeated after 20 outings, with 9 knockouts, and has remarkably improved in each of his latest outings. A deceivingly good boxer who manages to find the gaps, Hlatswayo shows incredible tenacity and toughness, with the ability to absorb hard punches with little effect. He swings all his fights into a brawl and that’s when he’s at his best. He doesn’t merely beat his opponents, he beats them up and certainly could cause a number of upsets.

Given his tough guy approach its questionable how long his career will last, as even the mightiest fighters can take only so much. Until then, however, this guy reminds of a bygone era when men were men in every sense of the word, and I cannot remember seeing a fight of his which was not gripping and entertaining. The one thing, which may count against him is the fact that he starts slowly in order to gradually swing his opponents style to that of his own, and he could come unstuck if he meets somebody who refuses to be lured into a battle of attrition.

Given Lovemore Ndou’s own gutsy, all heart approach, this match should be a sensational one and fight-fans can expect a classic confrontation. Ndou has faced a wider array of opposition and will definitely have the advantage of experience on his side, as well as the fact that he is an established traveller. Hlatswayo is yet to fight away from his home country and some boxers find that difficult to do.

Given his resolve, however, I feel confident that he will be up to the test. World champions in both the light and junior welterweight divisions take note: there’s an Angel in the wings and he’s on course for greatness.

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