Johannesburg – Controversial two-time former IBF champion Malcolm Klassen and unheralded sensation Keith Nkosi enhanced their future boxing prospects on the Corrie Sanders tribute bill at Emperors Palace on Monday night.
Nkosi, who was widely considered as no more than a stepping stone for Warren Joubert, turned the tables on his up-and-coming opponent in dramatic fashion to take the African Boxing Union's lightweight title with a sensational first-round knock-out victory.
Nkosi is trained by Harold Volbrecht, who also trained South African former WBO heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders.
Sanders was murdered in a robbery at a restaurant in Brits on September 23.
He fought the famed Ukranian Klitschko brothers during a distinguished career, knocking out Wladimir in the second round for the WBO title, but then suffered a knock-out defeat against Vitali in a WBC crown bout.
Proceeds from the Emperors' tournament, amounting to over R150,000, were donated to the Sanders family. A pair of boxing gloves signed by the Klitschko brothers fetched R95,000 at an auction on the night.
On Tuesday, Volbrecht described Nkosi as one of the most exciting prospects he had discovered, and predicted a glowing future for his latest prodigy.
Former WBA champion Brain Mitchell said Nkosi's demolition of Joubert was one of the most stunning exhibitions of power punching he had seen this year.
Klassen's impressive points victory over Bongani Mahlangu has prompted Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman to proclaim that he will put pressure on the WBC to give the former IBF champion a top-10 ranking.
Berman had previously expressed the intention of securing an IBF title fight for Klassen, which would enable him to hold the organisation's junior light weight title for a third time.
Klassen was recently stripped of his less recognised WBF junior light weight title, but says he does not care too much and is viewing “bigger things”.
Klassen won the WBF belt by beating the experienced Daniel Lomeli at Montecasino a year ago, but failed to defend his title in spite of directives from the WBF to “make a defence, or else”.
“I'm back fighting for Golden Gloves Promotions, and they don't do business with the WBF in any case,” said Klassen.
He was now free to resume his career under the aegis of any promoter he saw fit.
Meanwhile, trainer Nick Durandt confirmed that Klassen “walked out” on him in his capacity as a trainer after winning the WBF title last year, but said that he retained a contract with the 30-year-old boxer, and remains his manager until next year.
“The contract is lodged with Boxing SA and stipulates that I receive a manager's fee from a percentage of the purses Klassen receives from all his fights, no matter who is promoting them.
“So as far as I am concerned, he can have as many fights as he wants, and for whom he wants, as long as I continue to receive my manager's fee,” said Durandt.