When ring announcer Shepherd Dyani’s interest in boxing was triggered in the mid-90s, he had no idea that it would turn into a passion and his biggest source of income.
Dyani will be the main ring announcer for the SA heavyweight title clash between champion, Ruann Visser and challenger, Tian Fick, at Camps Bay High School, on Monday December 16.
Born in Gugulethu, 44 years ago, Dyani was raised by his late grandmother, Nofezile Caroline Dyani, in what is arguably called the home of boxing in the Eastern Cape, Mdantsane, near East London.
“I was raised by a God-fearing and praying woman who showed me love and showed me how to love unconditionally.
“Her teachings made me who I am today and thank you Tshawekazi elihle (referring to her Clan name), may your soul rest in peace,” he said.
Dyani moved back to Gugulethu in 1996. His interest in the sport was triggered after watching several boxers spar.
He joined Luvo Boxing Club, under the guidance of the late Menzi “Boss” Nqodi.
“That was during the time of the-up-and-coming boxers Zolile Mbityi, Patrick Quka and Andile Ntsiko, etcetera.
“I remember those days. You only got into the real ring at championships which were then known as trials,” he said.
Dyani was inspired by some legendary ring announcers to pursue his passion. He mentioned Brian Mulder, Sipho Mashego, Duke Wellington, Lucky Makeleni, and of course, the legendary Mr “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble”, Michael Buffer.
Dyani’s career has lasted 20 years and, despite the ups and downs, it’s still going strong. Five years ago, he landed his biggest cheque to date.
“You must also develop yourself in terms of your skills as an individual,” he said.
Dyani said loyal boxing supporters, Boxing SA representative and Western Cape service provider Mikky Klaas and some of the officials around the province encourage him daily.
“How can I forget the promoters who booked me for their events and to Dr Ivan de Vries from the Cape Fight League, may his soul rest in peace,” he said.
Dyani said he has worked at big events where he has crowned provincial, national and world champs around the country, however, there’s something special about doing it in East London.
“I did live streaming for SABC, Kwese Sport and SuperSport. The highlight of my career was to announce one of my boxers whom I have contributed to coaching as an amateur as he became an IBF Youth World Champion and I also waited for years to go to East London and finally I did a Xaba Promotions event which was live on SuperSport.
“The event was held at the East London ICC. I would love to go back again but now to be at the Orient Theatre. I hope that I will get that chance before I hang up the microphone,” he said.
On a part-time basis, Dyani is a personal fitness trainer and a boxing analyst.
“I have always had a passion for boxing. On a part-time basis I used to assist some personal fitness trainers with their clients. When I got the opportunity to train my own clients, I realised that I can use this gift to my advantage and make a living from this sport. The road ahead is challenging but I try my best to stay positive.”