By Monwabisi Jimlongo

Mental, physical and psychological preparations are very important when a boxer is due to fight for a world title outside the country. 

This is what helped Welcome ‘Hawk’ Ncita before he defeated Spain-born Frenchman Fabrice Benichou to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior-featherweight title in April 1990. 

Ncita now believes that Azinga ‘Golden Boy’ Fuzile’s preparations are going to be key when he faces Kenichi Ogawa in a vacant IBF junior-lightweight title contest at the Hulu Theatre, Madison Square Garden, New York City, in the United States on Saturday, 27 November (Sunday, 28 November, South African time). 

“Mental, physical and psychological preparations play a very important role. You face a lot of things like atmosphere and climate when you fight abroad,” Ncita said. 

“Fortunately, Azinga has fought in America before. However, fighting for a world title is something different. It’s not like fighting in an international bout against an ordinary boxer.” 

Having fought outside South Africa five times when he was a world champion, Ncita knows the pressure of fighting in foreign lands.  

“Moving to America a week before the fight might play a role in the overall readiness of a boxer. I used to spend between three and four weeks in America then go spend two weeks where I would fight. Sometimes it was three months outside the country. I think we were fortunate at the time. Now some fights come at short notice something that at times disadvantages a boxer,” Ncita said.

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