Anson Wainwright - You last fought back in March when you beat Katsunari Takayama on points. Can you tell us about that fight? How happy were you with your performance?
Nkosinathi Joyi - My last fight against Katsunari Takayama was not easy; he put up a very good fight. I hurt my knee in the first round and my hand in the third. Under the circumstances, I think I did very well.
AW - I’m told you broke your right hand in the fight. Could you tell us how? How hard was it fighting with a broken hand and how has it healed up?
NJ - Yes, I broke my hand in the third round of the fight. I did not panic; I told my corner not to panic as well. I soldiered on. I must say it was not easy at all; I could not wait to hear the last round bell due to pain. I caught Takayama on top of his head; I felt this sharp pain and I knew something was wrong. At the moment, the hand, it’s healing very well, should be back late June or early July.
AW - When do you think you’ll be able to fight next? Do you know who and where it may be?
NJ – Immediately after the fight, I got an offer to fight Luis Ceja of Mexico in Mexico on April 28th, 2012 but my injury didn’t allow me to take that fight. My promoter and business manager asked the promoter to postpone the fight to around June 30th, 2012 [keeping the venue] also in Mexico. We are waiting to hear from him, if he agrees that will be my next date to fight.
AW - Prior to the Takayama rematch, you hadn’t fought in over a year after the fight was declared a no-contest. Why did you not fight for so long?
NJ - You’ll recall that in the past few months, promoters had struggled to put up fights in South Africa because of non-availability of television in the form of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. This led to sponsors also withdrawing their support for any bout that will not be televised. It was a difficult period for me and my entire team. Japan had also shown no interest to take the fight to Japan, as we were also prepared to go and defend in their backyard. Thanks to my team who kept me motivated and training during that difficult period.
AW - Who are the key members of your team?
NJ - My head coach is Boy Boy Mpulampula, the best trainer’s award winner in South Africa for the past three years in a row. My business manager is Siphatho Handi, whom I met in my early childhood days before I started boxing. He is just like a father to me. My promoter is Branco Milenkovic, who has made a name for himself in the boxing world by winning the “IBF Promoter of the Year” Award for three consecutive years. My agent is Siyolo Dabula, who helped to arrange all my opponents when I was still an IBO champion. I’ve got a solid team; they know their business and they are playing their different roles.
AW - Where do you regularly train and what’s a typical day for you in the gym? How easily do you make 105 pounds?
NJ - I train at Enethole Boxing Gym, which is a walking distance from where I stay in my ordinary day in the gym when I’m not preparing for any fight. I work on the punching bag for four rounds, four rounds on the punching pads and four rounds in a sparring session. I also do a lot of wood chopping in between. Lastly, I’m a natural minimumweight division boxer. My weight goes up around 54kgs (118 pounds) when not preparing. So, I do my weight limit very easy but I always work very hard for my fitness.
AW - What are your thoughts and comments on the strawweight division? What do you think of the other champions, Kazuto Ioka of the WBC, the WBA’s Akira Yaegashi and the WBO’s Moises Fuentes?
NJ - There is lot of talent in the division; I must say but I am the best; I must say. Ioka is a good fighter but he has not really been tested. I am sure Akira will test him; let’s wait and see. I watched Akira once- I like him- that was when he won the WBA title [against Pornsawan Porpramook last October]. I have not watched Moises but I am told he put up a great fight against Garcia. But believe me; they all don’t stand a chance against me. I can’t wait to fight in a unification bout against the winner of the Ioka-Yaegashi bout. Whoever wins between them on June 20th, 2012 will be in hiding; those titles belong to me. It’s going to be a tough close fight but I think Ioka will win on points. Fuentes-Ivan Calderon, I’ll pick Calderon on points.
AW - There has been a bit of a war of words between you and your fellow South African Hekkie Budler of late. When we spoke to him about meeting you, he was very complimentary, saying “I think, pound-for-pound, Joyi is awesome. Yes, it would be a huge fight in South Africa and I would love to fight him but that is something I would leave up to [trainer] Colin [Nathan] and Golden Gloves [Promotions].” What is your stance on the fight?
NJ - Lot has been said after my last fight; honestly, I don’t really think Hekkie is interested to fight me. The IBF gave him a chance to do so but he turned the elimination offer down. I think all this noise is just to market the boy, really. I will destroy Hekkie Budler and they know it. Personally, I would love to fight him; wish our promoters can put the politics aside and let us fight.
AW - You’re a world champion now. What other goals do you still have in boxing?
NJ - I want to be the champion of all four major world boxing sanctioning bodies, IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO. Fighting in America is also my dream; that’s what I want to achieve before retiring from boxing.
AW - Who was your boxing hero growing up? Who do you like to watch today?
NJ - “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler. He was a southpaw and a hard puncher. He could think; he could box; he was smart. But currently, I like watching Floyd Mayweather Junior. He is brilliant.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the strawweight division?
NJ - The year 2012 looks promising and my message can only go to all champions of the other three major world bodies in my division and that message is: “Be prepared. Mabere’s time is now. Kiss your belts goodbye.”