There will be four world champions in the gym in 2020 — Lerato Dlamini

Lerato Dlamini

Lerato Dlamini believes that the gym he trains at, Hotbox, will have four major title winners by the end of the year.

“Hekkie (Budler) is going to be a WBC champ and I am as well,” said Dlamini.

The WBC Silver Featherweight title holder believes him, Budler, Moruti Mthalane and Azinga Fuzile will all have major belts around their waists.

Before Dlamini can fight for the big one, however, he has to get past Nathaniel Kakololo on March 8 at the Orient Theatre, East London.

“I should look like an elite fighter (against Kakololo),” he said.

Confidence is running high with Dlamini as he is coming from a convincing win over Dave Penalosa in 2019, where many experts felt he was the underdog going into the fight.

“I drew a lot of confidence you know. I perform better when I’m the underdog. But now I don’t have to lower my performance next week. I’m going to raise the bar. I’m really confident going into this fight,” said the fighter nicknamed “Lights Out”.

The importance of the matchup cannot be underestimated as Dlamini knows that he is edging closer to a world title shot. He currently ranked fourth by the WBC and with talk that world champion Gary Russell is planning to move up to 130 pounds, Dlamini could find himself in a position to fight in an eliminator in the near future.

He is not getting ahead of himself though.

“I can’t overlook Nathaniel. I need to get through him and then I will look forward to the future. This is a must-win fight for me,” he said.

“This fight is very big for me, bigger than the Penalosa fight. So I’m going to look impressive. I’m focused, I’m disciplined and I’m ready.”

So what are Dlamini’s predictions for this fight?

“Judging by how I’ve been training and sparring I’m going to knock him out,” he says.

“I don’t know which round, I can’t predict which round but he’s very tough. Maybe in the later rounds I’ll stop him.”

Lights Out feels he has had the good preparations for this bout.

“I’ve been putting in rounds with (Ludumo) Lamati, Anthony Grobelaar, David Rajuille, Lusanda Komanisi, recently (Tshifiwa) Munyai and (Ronald) Malindi. So I’ve had very good sparring partners. Different styles of boxing. So I’m feeling good going into this fight. Camp has been amazing.”

Fuzile looks to finish Class early

Azinga Fuzile. Photo by Nick Lourens

The experience that Ibrahim Class (22-4) has is of no concern to Azinga “Golden Boy” Fuzile. The two square off on Sunday at the Orient Theatre, East London, for the vacant IBF Intercontinental Super Featherweight title.

“I don’t have time, this is my fourth fight this year so I’m going to make it shorter,” laughed Fuzile.

“It will end by first or second round knockout. I don’t think it will go the distance. I’ve watched his fight against Koos Sibiya and I don’t think we are on the same level.”

Although he only has 12 professional fights, Fuzile has made a name for himself by beating top fighters with more experience than him. The likes of Macbute Sinyabi, Tshifiwa Munyai and Malcolm Klassen have been victims of the slick boxer from East London.

Fuzile is ranked ninth by the IBF and has his eyes set on a world title challenge sometime in 2019. This means a slip up would be unacceptable.

“I have to win this fight. So I can have a chance to challenge for the world title,” he says.

In his last fight the Golden Boy took on former world champion Klassen and put on a performance which he regards as his highlight of the year. He stopped Klassen in the fourth round.

“I think it was a step up for me. People thought that Malcolm Klassen could beat me because he has more experience than me and is a world champion but I surprised people like I usually do,” said the 22-year-old Fuzile.

So what are the plans for 2019?

“My goal is to fight for a world title next year,” he says.

He also made a promise to the fans ahead of Sunday’s fight, which tops the Rumble Africa Promotions bill.

“I will do what I always do. Winning is norm so I will win again.”