I knew that this was going to be a very tough battle and that was my take in the interviews I had before this fight.  

What I didn’t think about was Azinga Fuzile losing the fight the way he did. He was outsmarted by a more experienced and stronger boxer. I knew that Kenichi Ogawa was a big puncher, as his alias  ‘The Crusher’ suggests. 

Is there anyone to blame for this loss? I don’t know, but I know that Team Fuzile should have done better during their preparations.  

Firstly, the time given to prepare for this bout was not sufficient enough for a fight of this magnitude. Questions should have been asked as to why Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov pulled out closer to the fight. When we tell people about the levels in this game, they think we are talking nonsense. To fight for an IBF title is different and difficult than any other. A fighter can’t recuperate well enough if he was drained. I saw a weight-drained Azinga at the weigh-in and his voice gave out the secret. I told one of the boxing legends that I wasn’t comfortable with that. 

The time given to prepare for this fight was not enough to plan Ogawa better. It was time to quickly reduce to the weight limit and we will see later about other things.

Secondly, in an interview I had with Mbuyekezo Channel, I warned that Team Ogawa have studied Azinga. 

It was evident in this fight that they knew what they wanted to do. They first denied him an opportunity to throw his dangerous right hook. 

They did this by not falling into his range and always waiting for him to commit. When Azinga realised this, he was forced to fight backwards, looking for a counter. Then Ogawa seized the opportunity and pumped his jab. 

I also warned those who cared to listen that Ogawa was a dirty fighter. He uses his head to take you out of your rhythm. He did that perfectly and cut Azinga a number of times. This frustrated him and took him out of his rhythm.

Thirdly, in the fight against Martin Ward, I noticed that Azinga didn’t move his head, but rather he relied on the shoulder roll. Ogawa was aware of that and used his quick jab to blind him for his crushing right hand. He was very successful with that. 

I didn’t see any plan B from Azinga’s corner, maybe they were busy with the cuts and swelling. Our Golden Boy was growing frustrated.  I have never seen him missing with so many punches like he did during the Ogawa fight. 

The first knockdown signalled the end of the fight for me because I knew that Azinga will be on his bicycle as his subconscious was taking him back to his loss to Rakhimov. He survived that knockdown because of instinct. He had to think on his feet from then on. I praise him for being a warrior and fought until the end. 

The truth of the matter is that our boxers are not properly developed for big stages. World ratings do not mean one is ready, they mean your career is in the right direction. 

The fight against Ward was so flawless we all bought to the notion that our guy was ready. In a world stage there are very important factors like psychological preparedness and a controversy free environment, which helps with total focus.

Isolate the fighter from his comfort zone and take him to a secluded camp site. Have experts of the game to study the opponent for your team and advise.

Have a full compliment of a team that will prepare the boxer holistically. No one person knows everything. Preparing for a fight doesn’t mean making weight, it’s much more than that.

We have had world champions in this region and nationally using the above method. The late Mzi Mnguni would go out and solicit assistance, simply because he knew there was a big task in front of him. He would study the opponent by watching many videos time and again. He would call people with the knowledge of the game to air their views. I know this because I was there. 

Who was Azinga sparring with? I am sure this is the question in a lot of boxing people’s minds. We have a lot of boxers who could have emulated Ogawa’s style. Simphiwe Vetyeka, Lusanda Komanisi and Gift Bholo are just the few coming to mind right now. But these boxers would be uncomfortable to spar with him because we tend to include destructive fans to our sparring sessions. That’s the other thing when it comes to the environment. 

The cold war between Chief Njekanye and Colin Nathan didn’t help at all. I am sure that it affected Azinga one way or the other. Our differences shouldn’t be displayed glaringly to the very same fighters we want to groom. In most cases we tend to influence these boys to choose sides. This affects their psychological preparations. 

I do not understand why no one from Rumble Africa Promotions was part of the entourage. This could have helped Azinga to be comfortable in a foreign country. I am not suggesting that Chief and Colin didn’t make him comfortable,  but the more, the merrier. 

Azinga took a lot of punishment in this fight than in all his fights. His team needs to be mature and deal with this loss very professionally. 

This is the career of Azinga, not about individual egos. The end result maybe for all of them to lose this boy through being taken by another team or he just retires prematurely from the sport. No one at that age can take all the nonsense and shenanigans witnessed in his team. 

I am sure that his reported drinking sprees are for him to escape all this nonsense. Azinga expects his team to provide him with the support structure his mother can’t. He doesn’t need all these destructive quasi expert groupies next to him. I call on his team to act professionally and stop this nonsense. 

As they say, in hindsight we are all geniuses. I hope this piece is not seen in that light, but rather a reaction to the situation that was glaring for all of us to see. 

  1. That he was drained before the fight was my fear as well. I wasn’t comfortable as I noticed that the day he departed.I saw a weak Azinga before the fight. The time boxers have after the weigh-in is not enough for digestion,and regaining physical strength.

  2. Ace you have nailed it ndoda, if you can remember last Monday on Facebook I said there is bet I wanna do with you on Wednesday but unfortunately I fell sick till Friday. I was going to bet against Fuzile, why, because of the same sentiments you have aired in this article. Months back I put it on Mdantsane East London Boxing page that here in the Mecca we don’t have world class boxers but national material.

    1. I remember exactly when I uttered those words, and it came to my mind whilst the fight was continuing only praying for a lucky punch that would change the whole game.

      1. Yes we could see that the movement was not efficient, yes we were good with the stomach jabs, we needed to move awkward from that right hand, and commit our selves to fighting by closing the gap so that our opponent can feel our punches. Ogawa had a most comfortable fight, the head buts worked for him, the blood from the nose troubled us. We fought bravely to survive 12 rounds. We will comeback stronger.

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