Chauke promises early night

Jackson Chauke. Photo by Nick Lourens.

Jackson Chauke has stopped his last seven opponents and he believes that this weekend will see him knock another rival out.

The South African flyweight champion will put his title on the line against Sihle Jelwana at the International Convention Centre in East London, on Saturday. The two square off for the second time after Chauke stopped the challenger last year.

“I’m well prepared, I’m not undermining him but I’m definitely going to stop him again. I did it before. I just hope he comes prepared this time, no excuses. We’ll see on the 27th,” says the champion.

Chauke said that the fans should not expect the fight to go beyond six rounds as he looks to make a statement against Jelwana.

“I want to prove that me and him don’t belong in the same ring,” he said.

“He’s of a lower standard so I just want to prove it.”

While Chauke would like to fight internationally after this bout he maintains that there are some local match ups that interest him.

“I’d like to fight number one (Fikile Mlonyeni) and number three (Luyanda Ntwanambi) because they both fighting now but I think a challenge for me would be fighting number three,” said the national champion.

Chauke has made a promise to the boxing public.

“People must expect bombs, good boxing, skills and must expect a good fight but it won’t go 12 rounds I’m sure of it,” he said.

“The fans must come out in numbers to support boxing, boxing is back. It will be a big show so they must come and support. They will enjoy themselves.”

Looking back at the weekend: Pacman rolls back the years and Chilemba outworked

This weekend fight fans around the world turned their attention towards 40-year-old politician Manny Pacquiao as he rolled back the years to beat Keith Thurman and become the WBA Welterweight Super World Champion.

“Pacman” took our breaths away as he reminded us why he was named the fighter of the decade for the years 2001 to 2010.

Question is what’s next for the senator from the Philippines?

Well the 147-pound division has been stacked with top talent for a long time and it looks like the top fighters are slowly eliminating each other as we look to see who the best welterweight in the world is. Pacquiao’s victory over Thurman moves us a step closer to determining who the main man is in the division. If only they would include Terrence Crawford in these ‘eliminations’.

It has now been announced that IBF champion Errol Spence will take on WBC title holder Shawn Porter in September to unify their belts.

Porter already announced that he wanted to face the winner between Pacquiao and Thurman.

Off course the WBC champion has a mountain to climb against Spence.

So it looks like we could see the veteran Pacman will take on the winner of the Spence-Porter match up.

Looking back at the weekend from a local point of view, we have to talk about Isaac Chilemba who was outworked by Russian Maksim Vlasov in the latter’s home country.

The manner in which Vlasov beat the Malawian, who is based in Johannesburg, was surprising considering that Chilemba comfortably beat the man back in 2011.

On Saturday, however, Vlasov was just too busy for the former world title contender. Without doing anything too special, the Russian threw and landed enough punches to get the unanimous decision.

It will be interesting to see where the 32-year-old Chilemba goes from here as a win would have meant he could still be a factor in title chases.

He was ranked 10th by the WBC before the fight but is now likely to drop out of the top 15.

Vlasov on the other hand will stay amongst the hopefuls although not too many people will believe that he can beat any of the current champions.


The boxers are the stars — Colin Nathan

Lerato Dlamini and Colin Nathan.

Colin Nathan has seen his fighters pulling off one great victory after another as his gym has been on an incredible run in recent years. The latest win being, off course, Lerato Dlamini outclassing Dave Penalosa in Saudi Arabia.

You would think the trainer/manager Nathan would want to take credit for these achievements but that is not the case. He believes it is the fighters who make him look good.

“Without the fighter we don’t have the sport, we don’t have jobs, we don’t have careers. It’s because of them,” he says.

The trainer known as “Nomakanjani” spoke to 10 Count about the state of affairs at his Hot Box Gym, No Doubt Management and MTK Africa.

“The gym and the team are still on a high because of Lerato’s outstanding upset victory against all odds. A lot of people in this country wrote him off for this fight. I thought he boxed out of his skin and produced a world class performance and kept the South African flag smiling,” says Nathan.

The manager also talked about former two-weight world champion Hekkie Budler who is back in training after losing his WBA title to Hiroto Kyoguchi, last December.

“We’ve got a championship that we are working on for him,” said Nathan.

Nomakanjani also talked about Ryno Liebenberg who was recently a victim of a controversial decision in Germany. His fight against Nick Hannig was declared a draw despite many people being of the opinion that he had won the bout.

“I thought he won the fight eight rounds to four. I was trying to be as objective and unbiased as possible. Getting a draw in Germany is pretty much as good as getting a win, so I’m very proud of him,” said Nathan.

“People are asking what’s next? We obviously working on a rematch towards the end of the year for that fight. Ryno proved that he’s still got a lot of fights in him still at this stage of his career.”

Which other fighters will be in action soon?

“I’ve got Hedda Wolmarans fighting for the SA junior welterweight title (against Nomandithini Ndyambo) on the fourth of August. I’ve go Shervontaigh Koopman fighting next week on the undercard of Ludumo Lamati-ichie Mepranum for Rumble Africa Promotions. We’ve got (Simpiwe) Konkco-Wanheng Menayothin that I’m busy putting together right now. Also finalizing Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov and Azinga Fuzile. So we very busy,” said Nathan.

The manager told 10 Count that there is still “a lot of work being done behind the scenes” regarding Konkco’s WBC strawweight title challenge and Fuzile’s junior lightweight IBF title eliminator.

Despite many people not believing that South African boxers can go all the way to the top of the sport, Nathan is determined to keep pushing his charges to greatness. He believes recent results have proven that local fighters have what it takes.

“It proves that we’ve got the talent to go abroad and (fighters) carve their names in stone. We have the ability, we have the talent and we just need the opportunities,” he says.

“We proving that now, we’ve got the opportunities now and we getting the results.”

Looking back at the weekend: Dlamini is top performer

So many in the main stream media are talking about what an amazing sporting weekend we have just had. They are talking about tennis, cricket, Formula 1 racing and netball.

While South Africa’s netball team were brilliant over the weekend and deserve all the credit that they have received, South Africans should also know that a certain Lerato Dlamini stepped into the world stage as an underdog and dominated Filipino Dave Penalosa to claim the WBC Silver Featherweight title on Friday.

In front of a huge crowd in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Dlamini dropped his fancied and previously unbeaten opponent twice to convincingly move in to the top 10 in the WBC rankings as he searches for a world title.

In front of Saudi Arabian royalty and some sport’s biggest names such as Lennox Lewis and Paulie Malignaggi, the man from Welkom put on a spectacular performance to beat the nephew of former world champion Gerry Penalosa.

In my opinion this was the performance of the weekend in the squared circle anywhere in the world.

Question is where does the 25-year-old go from here? I’ll say far, very far in the sport.

He’s now ranked in the top 10 by the WBC and will surely have more big fights in the future. Maybe more match ups in the 62 000 seater King Abdullah Sports City Stadium?

Before the fight Dlamini had said that he would use the opportunity to help get bigger fights.

This we look forward to, in the meantime it’s “Lights Out”.

Phuzi grinds out win over experienced Shihepo

Akani Phuzi (right) beat Willberforce Shihepo by a majority decision on Sunday. Photo by Nick Lourens.

Akani Phuzi knows that his majority decision win over a game and experienced Willberforce Shihepo was not as straight forward as the other wins he has had in his career so far.

“I fought against a very experienced opponent. I could see he’s awkward and experienced in the ring,” he said after the fight at the Blaigowrie Recreation Centre.

“But I managed to adjust in the fight and then won. I’m happy even Brian Mitchell said that I won clean. So I think it was a good fight. I think I can take a punch because he caught me with good punches but I just brushed them off.”

Shihepo came into the fight as veteran of 35 fights and made things difficult for the WBA Pan African champion, who was in a professional ring for only the ninth time.

The fight headlined a Supreme Boxing and Charing Cross Promotions bill which saw Bangile Nyangani beat Oscar Richard to claim his first title, ABU (SADC) strawweight title.

Sikho Nqothole made a return to the win column by stopping Thulani Gumede in the second round.

Jeff Magagane beat Paul Mangxilana by a unanimous decision in a non-title fight which saw both fighters losing their tempers.

Prime takes on Shihepo

Akani Phuzi and Alan Toweel. Photo by Nick Lourens.

Akani Phuzi says that he picked Willberforce Shihepo for the second defence of his WBA Pan African cruiserweight title. The fighter nicknamed “Prime” will get his wish on Sunday at the Blairegowrie Recreation Centre, Johannesburg.

“Firstly I don’t want to call out my fellow South Africans like Thabiso Mchunu and the other guys,” says Phuzi. “It’s not really worth it to fight them now. I know I’m rated number one and he’s the SA champion but it’s not worth it for me to fight him for peanuts or for the SA title while he’s rated number 15 by the WBC and highly by other sanctioning bodies and I’m still low in the rankings. What’s the point if I beat him and I get on top? That means I’m in the den already with nine fights. If he beats me he doesn’t move anywhere. So it doesn’t make sense fighting him though it makes sense to other people because they just want to see guys fighting, they don’t really care much about their careers or anything.”

“I picked him (Shihepo) out because he’s a worthy opponent. He’s experienced and has been fighting for a long time. I don’t even remember how old I was when he turned pro. So I think he’s a good test for me.”

The fight headlines the Supreme Boxing and Charing Cross Promotions bill.

The veteran Shihepo has respect for the young South African.

“He’s a good fighter, well-disciplined fighter. I think he’s still young and if he keeps up his discipline he’ll go far. This is a gentleman’s sport. If you have discipline and respect you’ll go far. That is how boxing is,” he said.”

The main supporting bout on the card is for the vacant ABU (SADC) mini flyweight title between Bangile Nyangani and Oscar Richards.

That fight could be in jeopardy as Richards weighed almost 6kg more than the 47.63kg limit at the pre-fight medical on Wednesday. This was more than the 5% limit which he was allowed to be over.

“I hope he will make the weight so that we can fight,” said Nyangani.

The South African said that Richards being overweight could affect the Tanzanian.

“We going for the long distance. If he can go for six rounds after losing 6kg in three days it will affect him. But I’m praying for him to make the weight. I want it to be a good fight, I want the fight to go well and I’m sure he’s ready for it.”

Whether that fight happens or not the card remains an interesting one.

The talented Sikho Nqothole will look to get back to winning ways after two defeats to Sabelo Ngebinyana. He takes on the undefeated Thulani Gumede in a junior bantamweight bout.

Jeffrey Magagane takes Paul Mangxilana in a junior lightweight contest. On paper one would say Magagane should win but Mangxilana’s devastating knockout of his opponent’s stablemate Sifiso Hlongwane, earlier this year, cannot be ignored.

Sanele Mhlungu goes against George Kandulo in a junior flyweight match up.

The television broadcast will start with Trevor Nghonyama taking on Mxolisi Masina in a junior bantamweight contest.

Before Supersport goes on air there will be a fight between Cecil Maluleke and debutant Yaseen Domingo at welterweight.

Looking back at the weekend: Questionable decisions in Germany

Two South Africans fighting at different venues in Germany on the same night and both return home with reason to be unhappy with the officials. That is exactly what happened this weekend.

Thulani Mbenge put his IBO welterweight title on the line against Sebastian Formella and despite looking like he had done enough to win the judges gave the victory to the German.

Mbenge fought Formella, the judges and the referee at the CU Arena. There was just no winning.

The referee warned and eventually deducted a point from Mbenge for landing what looked like legitimate body shots. Despite the deduction the South African seemed to be winning the rounds and must have been furious when Formella was named the winner.

The question now is: what happens from here?

Mbenge’s promoter Golden Gloves have already stated on their website that they have activated their immediate rematch clause which should be fought within 120 days.

The issue, which is always the problem whenever an up and coming fighter with dreams of reaching the top of the sport gets done in by the officials, is that this will slow down his progress. Mbenge was rated at number 10 by the WBC before the fight and now he moves further back. To add salt to injury the records will always show that he lost to Formella, a fighter who one does not expect to reach the top of the division.

Another question is do we still consider Mbenge as the man who can mix it with the division’s elite?

As much as I believe Mbenge deserved to have his arm raised at the end of the night, one cannot help feeling that the South African’s performance was not as good as we have come to expect from him.

The much talked about power that he possesses did not seem to bother Formella as much as it was a problem for the likes of Miguel Vazquez and Diego Chaves who Mbenge stopped in 2018.

As much as Vazquez and Chaves are former titleholders they do seem a little long in the tooth while Formella with just 20 fights under his belt was not going to just roll over.

If Mbenge wins the rematch, which I expect him to, and he continues to climb up the ranks, would he be able to bother elite fighters with that power?

As they say: “time will tell”.

Off course we can never talk about robberies in Germany without mentioning Ryno Liebenberg.

The man nicknamed “The Lion” has been robbed so many times in Germany that I wonder if he still carries his wallet with him when he goes to the European country.

Despite dominating his fight against Nick Hannig for the WBC International light heavyweight title, especially in the later rounds, the judges still managed to call it a draw in Wiesbaden.

There were times during the fight when Hannig appeared to be holding on for dear life but somehow two of the officials felt that it was a draw and even more shocking a third judge had the German winning the fight.

With Liebenberg aged 35 and him having previously stated that he is edging closer to the end of his career, one wonders what does this result mean for him.

His performance on Saturday suggested that he can fight on and has a handful of fights left in him.

It will be interesting to see who and what Liebenberg and his handlers have in store for the man from the West Rand.

Muller edges past Ruhamnye

Johnny “The Hurricane” Muller made a winning return to the ring when he beat Kizito Ruhamnye by a unanimous decision in their eight round heavyweight bout at the John Barrable Hall in Benoni.

The judges all scored the bout 79-73 in favour of Muller but the fight seemed a lot closer than what the scorecards suggest.

The Hurricane seemed to edge his opponent only in the latter part of the fight after being given a tough time earlier in the bout. It is quite surprising that the officials only gave one round to Ruhamnye when the fighter from the Democratic Republic of Congo seemed to take the first two rounds convincingly.

Muller then shook off the two-year ring rust to edge the match.

Earlier in the Punch Club Promotions’ first ever tournament John Bopape shocked Ricky Tshabalala in the middleweight division by stopping him in the second round.

Bopape took control from the opening bell and had Tshabalala, who surprisingly stood in front of his man, in trouble.

This resulted in trainer Damien Durandt being forced to thrown the towel 46 seconds into the second round.

Denis Mwale kept his undefeated record when he beat Thanduxolo Gatyeni by technical knockout in two minutes and 15 seconds into the first round.

Mduduzi Moyo registered the first win of his career in the third attempt when he shut out Keagan Mills over the four rounds of their light heavyweight bout. He convinced all three judges as they all scored it 40-36 in his favour.

Although one should never get carried away about a youngster winning his fight on pro debut, Cayden Truter put on the kind of performance that made this writer and many others in the crowd sit up and get excited about the future. He needed two minutes and 23 seconds in the first round to stop Thabang Ditshego in their junior lightweight clash.

The reflexes and skills displayed by the 18-year-old Truter makes one want to see more of him in the future.

Talent Baloyi beat Bakhe Ncede by a technical knockout in two minutes and 10 seconds of the third round in their junior featherweight fight.

Themba Hadebe also won by a technical knockout (two minutes and 10 seconds of the second round). He beat Dwayne du Toit.

Itumeleng Tsholo beat Juan Craucamp by unanimous decision (40-36; 39-37; 40-36) in their featherweight bout.

The day started with Hafeni Gerhard Linus beating Calvin Nkuna by unanimous decision in their junior welterweight clash (39-37; 39-36; 39-37).

Muller returns to hunt for heavyweight glory

Put Up Your Dukes Boxing Event – 29 June 2019

It has been two years since Johnny “The Hurricane” Muller has been in the ring and on Saturday he is making his comeback. The former South African light heavyweight champion takes on Kizito Ruhamnye in an eight round bout at the John Barrable Hall, in Benoni, this weekend.

“I’m feeling 100%, I’m ready and I just want to fight. If I could fight now I would be so happy,” he said.

Despite his last fight being in 2017, Muller is not worried about any ring rust.

“Two years is very long but I haven’t really stopped training,” he says.

“But I’ve been busy with my business but I’m so happy to be back and ready to fight.”

The Hurricane will face Ruhamnye in the weight division he started his career in, heavyweight. He signaled his intentions for the category.

“I want to go for all the heavyweights. Ruann Visser, all of them you can line them up,” he said.

“I’m going heavyweight, take the titles there, beat the guys. See what happened with Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz. Not just Visser, he’s a friend of mine in the boxing game but when we in the ring it’s business, you have to fight.”

Muller feels that it will not take him too before he is ready to take on the top local big men. He told 10 Count he would like his next fight to be for a title.

“I want to push,” he said. “I don’t have time to waste. I’m here to win, I’m here to take everything.”

The Muller-Ruhamnye fight headlines a Punch Club Promotions bill which also features middleweight Ricky Tshabalala taking on John Bopape.

Unbeaten Denis Mwale takes on Thanduxolo Gatyeni in a lightweight bout.

The card will also see Michael Markram taking on Mduduzi Moyo.

‘I’m going to be the driver of the show’ — Dlamini

Lerato Dlamini (left) in a previous fight against Simpiwe Vetyeka. Photo by Nick Lourens.

Lerato Dlamini promised to dominate Dave Penalosa when they meet for the WBC Silver featherweight title in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 12.

“It’s a big title and it can put me in the top 10,” he said.

“My opponent is undefeated but he’s been fighting bums. He’s been fighting guys that have more losses than wins you know. If I had a chance to fight those opponents I could have knocked them out as well.”

Dlamini, who is nicknamed “Lights Out”, believes he can outwork the Filipino.

“He’s strong but he doesn’t have stamina. He doesn’t have endurance and he gets tired quickly,” said the South African.

The fight is on the undercard of the much publicized Amir Khan-Billy Dib bout. This means that there is a chance of international exposure for the 23-year-old from Welkom.

“A big performance can put my name out there. I can get recognition and I can get bigger fights because of my style I think I’m going to put on a good show,” said Dlamini.

The fight comes after a frustrating period for Lights Out who was disappointed when his fight against Mfusi Maxhayi was cancelled due to the latter being overweight, last December.

“It was really frustrating because I was ready for the fight and my opponent came in almost 3kg overweight,” says Dlamini. “So we didn’t take the fight because he was way overweight. It was frustrating because I’ve been putting in work cutting weight, training hard and in the last minute the fight didn’t happen because my opponent was overweight.”

Dlamini is eager to put that episode behind him and concentrate on Penalosa.

“I’ve seen tapes of him (Penalosa) and I’ve watched two to three fights and he has a very good right hook. He’s very strong and comes forward all the time. But he’s one dimensional. He doesn’t have a jab he only has a right hook, straight left and he can bang the body as well,” says the South African.

Lights Out gave his idea of how the fight will go.

“I’m going to break him down. Going to be tight for the first four rounds because that’s where he’s strong. After that I think the second half of the fight is going to be my show. I’m going to be the driver of the show,” he said.

The featherweight division is one that is filled with talented fighters around the world and Dlamini has been looking out for potential opponents.

“I’d like to fight Abner Mares and also Miguel Marriaga. I heard Oscar Valdez is moving up,” he said.

Dlamini boasts a win over former world champion Simpiwe Vetyeka, which he believes has given him a lot of confidence.

“You never know how ready you are until you step inside the ring with the big dogs. So I feel like at this point in my life I can fight anyone. It doesn’t matter who the name is I can fight them. I will test myself and this is boxing, you know that somewhere somehow you going to be thrown in there with the wolves and there’s nowhere to run but to fight.”