Johannesburg - Despite not having as strong a promotional backing as many other boxing trainers, Alan Toweel junior regards himself as, arguably, the country’s most active corner man.
The 52-year-old son of the late boxing mentor Alan Toweel runs a 15-member gym from the backyard of his family home in Linden, Johannesburg.
This year alone, Toweel has been in charge of 34 fights, all of which have featured fighters from his gym.
When you venture into the trainer’s small garage-gym, to pay him and his ring “soldiers” a visit, the first thing you notice is the mentor yelling instructions at fighters who are busy working out, giving their best in all aspects to impress their trainer.
Majority of trainers
Toweel can be seen taking his boxers through their paces, teaching them the best shots in sparring while they try to outdo one another by aiming for that elusive knockout punch.
At times, he will intervene to stop a fight. Then he might send a trainee on a circuit of light exercises to loosen up or wind down.
Once Toweel’s gladiators have finished their workouts, he stops the training and then he starts talking about his mission as the scion of the famous training house.
“I am not bragging by saying I have been the busiest trainer in the country this year,” he says.
“The majority of trainers rely on promoters to fund the bouts of their fighters. I haven’t had a promotional backing behind me, yet I have managed to oversee 34 fights this year in which my boys have been active".
Toweel will be in the thick of things again when his charges trade punches in two separate showdowns at different venues in the next few weeks.
On Wednesday, seven of his pugilists will feature on a bill to be presented at Grand Palm Hotel Casino and Convention Resort in Gaborone, Botswana.
Slew of stars
The main fight, promoted by Barry Lambert’s Setanta Promotions, will showcase Toweel’s top boxer Rofhiwa Maemu, who will defend the African Boxing Union’s featherweight title against Namibian Immanuel Andeleki.
Maemu, who is from Soweto, won the vacant title by beating Prince Ndlovu in a second-round technical knockout at the Blairgowrie Recreation Centre in Johannesburg in June.
On October 22, at the same venue, Toweel will be the one shouting instructions from the corner as his other eight charges exchange blows in fights.
The main fight on the cards of that event, to be staged by Supreme Boxing Promotions, will see Hloni Maboko trade punches with Xolani Ngidi in the super featherweight division’s eighth-round match.
“It is good to see all these boxers involved in two successive tournaments,” Toweel says. “I will be footing the bill for my boxers in these bouts as well".
More world champs
Toweel has been in charge of his gym for two years. One of his slew of stars is Zolani Marali, the former World Boxing Federation’s super lightweight title holder.
“I have been running my current gym for more than two years. Maemu is the only top champ in the gym, [but] I will produce three more world champs in two years’ time,” he promises.
Toweel had also honed the skills of Isaac Chilemba of Malawi, who lost to England’s Tony Bellew on points for the World Boxing Council silver light heavyweight crown in Liverpool in the UK in 2013.