Former boxer, Vuyani ‘The Beast’ Bungu, has lost all the millions he made during his boxing career and he’s now working as a driver.
Bungu (48), has come out with guns blazing after it was reported that he is broke.
This comes after a newspaper reported that Vuyani has gone from being an internationally celebrated boxing champion to being a driver and a messenger at the Buffalo City Municipality in the Eastern Cape.
Although he doesn’t deny the claim about his occupation, Vuyani tells Move! that he’s angered by the constant financial scrutiny and negative publicity surrounding Eastern Cape boxers.
“The negative publicity that Eastern Cape boxers receive from the media is so annoying,” he says, “There are many broke boxers in Gauteng but nobody ever bothers to write anything about them.”
He also threatened to sue publications that write negative stories about him.
“This negative publicity and ridicule is tiring. It is unacceptable; some of us are role models to young boxers. I’m going to sue journalists and media houses who write rubbish about me,” he fumes.
THE HIGH LIFE
Vuyani rose to fame in the 1990s and remains the only South African boxer to hold a world title 13 times. At the height of his career between 1994 and 2005, he earned more than R10 million.
Just as he was not shy in the ring, he was also not shy with spending his earnings. He became famous for his over-the-top parties, fancy cars, opulent lifestyle and the expensive jewellery he bought for his wife. In keeping with his love for bling, when Vuyani married his wife, a former beauty queen, he spent R650 000 on the big day.
Vuyani was also known to be generous to friends and family. “If someone got into trouble or they didn’t have a place to stay, they always came to him for help,” says a source.
FALLING ON HARD TIMES
By 2010, Vuyani was broke. He was forced to move back to his mother’s house in Mdantsane after he had lost his home in Beacon Bay, a leafy suburb in East London.
He reportedly blamed the taxman and his former trainer and manager, Mzimasi Mnguni, for his financial situation. He accused Mzimasi of cheating him out of thousands of rands as he fought without having signed any contract or being told how much he would earn per fight.
However, sources close to him say that his lifestyle played a big role in turning his millions into nothing.
LIFE AFTER THE RING
Vuyani tried to turn his life around by becoming a boxing trainer and a motivational speaker, but both ventures did not succeed.
Another source close to Vuyani says the champion’s story should serve as a lesson to other boxers and sportspeople.
“There is a very short career span for people who play sport. You need to have something to fall back on,” the source warns, “Boxing was all Vuyani knew. He is a high school dropout and doesn’t have any formal qualification. That’s why he is in this current situation.”