By Ron Jackson
Well known boxing trainer and manager Nick Durandt was killed in a motorcycle accident near Clarens in the Free State today. He was 53. Having trained and managed more world champions than any other South African trainer and manager, Nick Durandt has no equal in the history of South African boxing.
Durandt, son of Cliff Durandt, who played professional football for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic, was born on December 26, 1963 in Wolverhampton, England and arrived in South Africa with his father as a youngster. He first learnt his trade under the guidance of former multiple South African and Empire champion Willie Toweel.
Flamboyant, colourful and even controversial at times, Durandt has continued to produce world champions, South African champions and numerous other divisional champions of the world bodies, and has always had the biggest stable of boxers in the country.
Even though he has not boxed himself the number of champions produced by Durandt is unprecedented in South African boxing history. He has produced 95 South African champions in all 17 weight divisions, 38 world champions and 27 International champions through the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, WBF and IBO organisations.
Yet he has always been willing to learn from other trainers and has worked with Americans Tommy Brooks, George Benton, Lou Duva, Alton Merkerson and Freddie Roach, having spent long periods with these trainers learning his trade.
Among the boxers Durandt spent time with in training camps were Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones Jr, Oscar de la Hoya and Evander Holyfield.
He even spent six months with Benton, one of the finest and most successful trainers in recent years.
Amongst the outstanding fighters he has taken to world titles are Thulani “Sugarboy” Malinga, three time South African and three time world champion, Phillip Ndou, Cassius Baloyi, Silence Mabuza, Isaac Hlatshwayo, Jacob Mofokeng, Jeffrey Mathebula, Malcolm Klassen, Siphiwe Nonqayi, Hawk Makepula, Zolani Tete and Moruti Mthalane.
He also assisted with the training and conditioning of American Hasim Rahman who knocked out Lennox Lewis in the fifth round at Carnival City near Brakpan on April 22 2001 when the 20-1 underdog Rahman shocked the world with his win over the WBC, IBF and IBO champion who was also considered the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world at the time.
Nick is one of the strictest disciplinarians in boxing and there are few better conditioners. If a fighter slacks there is no place for him in a Durandt gym.
He never cuts corners and I have never seen one of his fighters even the novice four rounder get into the ring not conditioned and well turned out.
He is a tough negotiator and looks after his fighters, always ensuring that he gets the best deal for them.
He has received numerous awards like:
2002 King Korn/Boxing SA Trainer of the Year
2009 Boxing SA Trainer of the Year
2004 Boxing SA Special Award
2007 Boxing SA Manager of the Year
2008 Boxing SA Manager of the Year 2009 Boxing SA Manager of the Year