Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Boxer Rofhiwa Nemushungwa somewhat enjoys being chased by attack dogs in his spare time.

The bantamweight‚ who challenges for the WBA Pan Africa title at Carnival City on Friday night‚ is coached by Alan Toweel junior‚ who also happens to be a dog trainer.

Nemushungwa dons a heavy protective suit for his encounters, running from German Shepherds and Rottweilers.

"It’s good‚" he says with a beaming smile at Toweel’s gym in Linden‚ Johannesburg.

"I get fit. I sweat in that suit."

Nemushungwa is one of the fittest boxers in the gym‚ sometimes running the 35km there from his home in Kibler Park‚ southern Johannesburg. And then he will occasionally get sent up Northcliff Hill as part of his actual roadwork.

"When I’m fit I’m not scared of anyone‚" said the fighter‚ who takes on Fadhili Majiha for the vacant belt.

Nemushungwa‚ 26‚ has a record of 12 wins‚ three losses and two draws‚ far fewer than his Tanzanian opponent’s 22-10-4. The South African‚ who grew up in Tshifudi near Thohoyandou‚ has fought 90 rounds compared to Majiha’s 225.

"He’s a good puncher‚ but he can’t beat me. I’m faster than him. I’m working hard for this fight," Nemushungwa says.

Hoping to study safety management through Unisa in 2019 to add to the emergency care qualification he already has‚ Nemushungwa is used to being considered the underdog.

He stunned prospect Joshua Studdard with a split decision over 10 rounds in December. For the first three he soaked up heavy pressure and sustained a bad cut above his right eye. But then he took control.

"People said Rofhiwa is going to lose that fight‚ that Joshua is going to knock him out."

However, Nemushungwa lost his previous bout‚ a split decision over four rounds.

"He’s a slow starter. He gets going after two or three rounds. He’s not a four-round fighter."

He has never been 12 rounds — his opponent has been that distance six times — but that is not a problem.