Inside the Ring with Colin Nathan: Championing South African Boxing

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, Colin Nathan, a pivotal figure in South African boxing, provides a rare glimpse into his multifaceted role as a trainer, manager, and promoter. With a journey deeply rooted in his childhood fascination with the sport, Nathan's trajectory has been marked by relentless dedication and a profound love for boxing.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-02-07

Umaima Saeed

9 minutes read

Exploring the Legacy of a Boxing Luminary

In a candid conversation with SportsBoom, Colin Nathan, a revered figure in South African boxing circles, offers a rare glimpse into his dynamic roles as a trainer, manager, and promoter. From his early childhood fascination with the sport to his pivotal role in shaping the careers of champions, Nathan's journey is a testament to passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the sweet science.


Nathan's journey into boxing began at a tender age, as he reminisces, "I got a pair of boxing gloves when I was two years old." This early introduction laid the foundation for a lifelong passion that would shape his career trajectory. With idols such as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard fuelling for the sport, Nathan's journey into the world of boxing was inevitable. Reflecting on his formative years, Nathan recalls, "My fascination for the sport just grew and grew and grew."

From Judo Gold to Boxing Glory

Before Nathan became synonymous with boxing in South Africa, he honed his athletic prowess in the realm of judo. Remarkably, Nathan devoted 15 years to competitive judo, achieving exceptional success within the South African circuit. In 1994, Nathan's dedication and skill culminated in a significant milestone as he clinched the national championship in judo. Despite his achievements in judo, Nathan's heart always gravitated towards boxing, igniting a lifelong passion that would ultimately define his illustrious career in the ring.


Transitioning from athlete to trainer, Nathan's path was driven by a desire to stay connected to the sport he loved. "If I'm not going to be a boxer, the next best thing is to be a trainer," Nathan asserted. His early foray into coaching saw him securing a second's license at the remarkable age of 12, a testament to his unwavering commitment to the sport.

South Africa's Youngest Boxing Gym Owner

At the tender age of 22, Nathan then embarked on a bold venture that would shape the course of his career in boxing. In 2000, he took a leap of faith and opened his own gym, marking the inception of his journey as a boxing trainer. Despite his limited experience in coaching at the time, Nathan's passion for the sport and innate knowledge laid a solid foundation for his foray into training. 


Armed with a personal training diploma and sports performance credentials from the esteemed Sports Science Institute of Cape Town, Nathan delved into the world of coaching, learning the ropes on the job. While he may have been technically learning as he went, Nathan's innate understanding of the sport ensured that he was well-equipped to guide aspiring pugilists towards success from the outset of his career.

Forging Champions on a Global Stage

As Colin Nathan's career progressed, his influence on South African boxing deepened, leaving an indelible mark on the sport. The pinnacle of his journey arrived in 2018 when his protege, Hekkie Budler, achieved a monumental feat by clinching the undisputed championship in a historic upset against Ryoichi Taguchi. Reflecting on this watershed moment, Nathan candidly shares, "That's when I realised, I had fulfilled what I wanted to do. That’s the pinnacle of the sport, and I reached that." This triumph not only solidified Nathan's legacy but also ignited a fervent desire to empower others within the sport.


Driven by an unwavering commitment to excellence, Nathan has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of numerous boxing talents, cultivating a legacy marked by the emergence of three credible world champions under his guidance. With each champion crowned, Nathan's vision for South African boxing has evolved, elevating the standard of the sport, and garnering international acclaim.



No Doubt Management

Furthermore, establishing 'No Doubt Management' in 2018 marked a pivotal moment in Colin Nathan's career, signalling a new chapter dedicated to nurturing the next generation of boxing talent. Reflecting on this milestone, Nathan shares, "I can honestly say that I'm living my dream. It's incredible." With an extensive background that includes boxing in 30 countries and conducting business across the globe, Nathan's reach extends far beyond the borders of South Africa. Through 'No Doubt Management,' Nathan has leveraged his international experience to propel South African boxing onto the global stage.


Driven by a passion for the sport and a desire to foster excellence, Nathan's management endeavours are fuelled by a commitment to enabling fighters and providing them with the necessary opportunities to excel. "I want to enable fighters... pushing 'em in the ratings, getting them all title opportunities," Nathan affirmed. 

Madonna-Inspired Approach to Boxing

Later into the interview, Nathan, drew inspiration from an unexpected source, the iconic pop sensation Madonna. Like the music legend, Nathan believes in the power of reinvention and versatility, a philosophy that has guided his multifaceted career in boxing. While Nathan may not be swapping the ring for the stage anytime soon, his dynamic approach to the sport mirrors Madonna's ability to constantly evolve and adapt.


Reflecting on his career trajectory, Nathan shares, "It's like I always think to myself, and I think, not that I'm like Madonna, but Madonna kept reinventing herself in the music industry and I really admire her work, how she came back, and she kept changing her look and music. And I'm not saying that I'm going to change careers. I love boxing and I want to stay in boxing, but I definitely think that you've got to keep changing the game and changing what you're doing, and you've got to be very versatile in the sport of boxing. That's what I really believe from all aspects."


Much like Madonna's ever-changing persona, Nathan has navigated through various roles within the boxing industry, seamlessly transitioning between trainer, promoter, and manager. Embracing the ethos of versatility, Nathan understands the importance of staying ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving sport.


From grooming champions in the ring to orchestrating high-stakes bouts as a promoter, Nathan's Madonna-inspired approach underscores his commitment to excellence and perpetual growth. By embracing change and embracing new challenges, Nathan continues to leave an indelible mark on South African boxing, solidifying his status as a true visionary in the sport.

Nathan's Ongoing Impact on the Ring

As South African boxing continues to thrive under Nathan's guidance, his unwavering passion and dedication serve as a beacon of inspiration for the next generation of pugilists. With each milestone achieved and each champion crowned, Colin Nathan's imprint on the sport remains indelible, a testament to the enduring legacy of a true boxing maestro.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.