Slice Of Life: ​A humble champion rises

Ashley Fourie.

Ashley Fourie.

The defending champ talked shit and taunted nonstop in the build-up to the title bout. That’s the last thing you want to do to my fighter!

Patrick Mukala is a humble, religious guy who has a special dislike for bullies. When he first walked into my gym he could barely speak a word of English. He had moved to South Africa because the promoters at home in the DRC could no longer afford him. In his first couple of fights all he could say at the press conferences was “I’m going to knock him”.

And he did that. After 8 professional fights Patrick has seven knockouts. But, instead of showboating, he would always go check on his opponent and help him to his feet.

I knew from the first day we trained that he was going to be a world champion. I helped him get sorted with a better job so he could dedicate more time to becoming one of the best in his division.

Now, after hundreds of hours in the gym, his title shot had arrived. Everybody in his camp was incredibly nervous, including him. We didn’t know if his opponent – a trash talking, experienced Ghanaian fighter – could be overcome.

The man mocked and provoked Patrick whenever he could. This wasn’t going to be an easy fight and it certainly wasn’t going to be a clean one.

Come seventh round, though, it was Patrick that stood tall – with another knockout. The now former champ refused to acknowledge his consoling embrace. Even his corner was not interested in handshakes.

It mattered little. The man who worked as a security guard when he first came to the country, earning a little over a R1 000 a month, was now the WBA Pan-African Super Middleweight champion. – Ashley Fourie, as told to Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham

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