Cassper Nyovest’s celebrity trainer, Sikho Nqothole, will come up against Denmark Quibido in the main bout at ESPN Africa Boxing 22 on October 27, and the rapper has predicted a win for the Mthatha-born boxer in the WBO Global Junior Bantamweight bout.

Nyovest, whose real name is Refiloe Phoolo, has been trained by 28-year-old Nqothole since he began boxing, and recently won his Celeb City bout against fellow rapper Priddy Ugly inside two rounds.

But now it’s Nqothole’s turn on the business side of the ropes, and he will face the Philippines’ Quibido across 12 rounds on Thursday. He comes into the fight having won his Africa Boxing bout in June, defeating Selemani Bangaiza.

On Nqothole’s upcoming fight, Nyovest told ESPN: “I’ve been studying his opponent (Quibido). I’m very invested in the fight, so he gave me his name. I went on YouTube and watched some of his fights.

“I told him what I could see. The guy starts very early. The first rounds are going to be very aggressive, because that guy goes to work and he’s very quick.

“We were both discussing what we see from the guy. It’s not going to be an easy fight, but I think Sikho will definitely take it.”

As for the roots of their relationship, Nqothole told ESPN: “I started [working as a trainer for other clients] in 2017. I was a personal trainer. He saw me fighting heavy guys and Cassper asked, ‘Who is this guy? I like this guy.’ I’m his trainer now fully, it’s not part time, and we have a good relationship.”

Although Nqothole did workouts with other celebrities before, Nyovest was the first to give him the opportunity to help him perfect his boxing technique on an ongoing basis.

As for why Nyovest is so keen to see his trainer succeed in the ring, he said: “The point is to shine a light on South African boxing. We’ve got world champions here that the country doesn’t even know about.

“People are ranked top 10 in the world and it’s a shame that your own country doesn’t even know about you, but we talk every day about [Floyd] Mayweather and [Manny] Pacquiao, so for me, it’s a bit of a shame and I just want to use my power as best I can to shine a little bit of light on these guys.

“I would like to see them retire healthy, well and [having built] a solid life for their families.”

Nyovest (2-1-0) and Nqothole (15-2-0) have both experienced losses as well as wins as fighters – Nyovest lost once to NaakMusiq (Anga Makubalo) and Nqothole twice to Sabelo Ngebiyana. The rapper revealed that he and Nqothole are motivating each other to ensure there is no repeat of their past setbacks.

Nyovest added: “We’re a family – we’re a team. This Thursday, we’re all going to go support Sikho. We’ve all been in his ear. We talk straight with each other. I’ve been like: ‘I’ve got my W (in Nyovest’s most recent fight against Priddy Ugly). You can’t get an L.’ It’s just banter, but we’re a family.”

Having beaten Bangaiza in June to make it four wins in a row, Nqothole is on the comeback trail after the Ngebiyana defeats and suggested he was now entering a new phase of his career.

“Now, I’m at my best, because I’ve got experience and it’s been a long time [that] I’ve been in this game. I’ve learned to defend [against] champions. I’ve learned how to defend [against] coaches and different managers,” he said.

“I’m so grateful [to ESPN Africa Boxing]… Now, they gave me a title shot and it’s a big opportunity for me, so I need to grab that opportunity with both hands and show them I appreciate what they do for me.”

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After training rapper Cassper Nyovest to victory, it’s Sikho Nqothole’s turn in the ring

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