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Countdown to Sunday’s ‘Showstoppers’

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Itching for action: the boxers involved in Sunday’s tournament at Emperors Palace.

With just four days to go until the “Showstoppers” tournament at Emperors Palace, the boxing community is already abuzz, as was evident at the pre-fight weigh-in at the Smith’s Gym on Wednesday afternoon.

All the fighters bar Sergio Ramirez of Mexico were in attendance at the Fourways facility. Happily, all looked trim and in shape, leading MC Brian Mitchell to remark that it would be one of the best shows of 2017.

The boxers for the two title fights weighed in successfully and Mitchell engaged them on their thoughts ahead of Sunday. Predictably, SA welterweight champion Shaun Ness and his challenger, Thulani Mbenge, never backed down, both vowing to win.

“I think we’re in for a terrific fight. Most have Mbenge winning, but Shaun will bring it hard,” said Mitchell. “There are eight fights and they’re all brilliant.”


Sharp-eyed Ellis weighs in on Mchunu v Muller

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The cruiserweight shootout between Thabiso Mchunu and Johnny Muller ought to be a cracking affair. Picture: N-SQUARED


With a boxing career spanning 55 years, encompassing amateur and pro fighting, managing, promoting, matchmaking and administering, Jeff Ellis has more than earned his dues. He’s a boxing savant who has already forgotten what most of us are yet to learn about the sweet science. He’s seen a few fights through the years. June’s big one – Thabiso Mchunu versus Johnny Muller has him fired up.

Were you surprised the fight was made?
‘Yes and no. I’ll tell you why. At one point Mchunu was looking world title bound. Then he lost to Junior Makabu, which shocked me. It set him back, as did his recent loss to Oleksandr Usyk. So I’m not surprised the Muller fight is happening.
‘[Trainer] Harold Volbrecht is a shrewd operator. When you’ve got a tiger – and that’s all you can call Johnny – all he does is come to fight. It could be a helluva fight. And don’t forget, this kid beat Kevin Lerena, who’s running hot.’

What does Johnny need to bring to the table?
‘The big thing is fitness. Brian Mitchell was a real model of that philosophy. Brian did everything right because he was so fit. If Johnny’s fitter than he’s ever been, he has an excellent chance. If not, forget it.’

What does Thabiso need to bring to the table?
‘He has the ability to beat anyone. The problem is he slows down dramatically. The fitter guy will win next weekend, not necessarily the guy who comes to fight.’

We know that Johnny can be stopped. Does Thabiso have the tools to do so?
‘Yes. At one point Thabiso was one of the biggest talents around. The problem was he was too muscle-bound; it slowed him. He’s got to work hard and be very fit.’



Does Johnny have the tools to beat Thabiso or stop him?
‘In that division they’re bothy good enough to stop one another. I keep going back to fitness. Johnny can’t go in like usual – Thabiso will catch him. Johnny must work from behind the jab.’

Style-wise, how does this pan out?
‘Johnny can be over-excitable. He doesn’t know when to stop; it’s make or break. He needs to calm down and look for openings. If he runs in, he’ll get hurt. Thabiso has a lot of power. He’s extremely dangerous if you’re coming at him. He always fights off the back foot and Johnny will be coming for him.’

Is size a factor?
‘The one guy is tall and lean, the other is short and muscular. We look at Thabiso as half-size. He’s a short, small guy and fights out of a crouch. He’s awkward and his defence is pretty good. If Johnny’s wild, that will suit him. The way Johnny should fight is use good body shots consistently, take the right hand to the body.’

How will Johnny cope with Thabiso’s southpaw stance?
‘He’s boxed one of the best in Lerena and no-one knows more about left-handers than Harold. There isn’t a better teacher for Johnny. He’s got to be sensible and then he’ll have a chance – provided he’s super-fit.’

The winner will still be in the mix. Where will the loser go?
‘It’s a difficult one. Once you’re off the international scene, options are limited. They’ll always be South African level, but that’s not where they will want to end it. Both fighters are young and still have fight in them. The loser won’t be finished, but he’ll never be near the top 20 again.’

SuperSport festival of boxing at Emperors Palace

The lowdown on the two tournaments – “Showstoppers” on April 23 and “Hurtin’ for Certain” on June 10.April 23rd, 2017
The first event is topped by the SA welterweight championship between Shaun Ness and Thulani Mbenge with the winner touted to fight WBO number 15 Jay Inson later in the year. The fight will be for Mbenge’s ABU crown. The DeeJay Kriel-Xolisa Magusha fight also has people talking, among them Berman, who believes that the winner will become the heir apparent to Simpiwe Konkco. He’s also matched house fighter Lucky Monyebane against Ashley Dlamini for the Gauteng title and makes no bones about his affection for Monyebane, who is the product of a partnership between Golden Gloves and the Hammanskraal community where Monyebane hails from. In a curious twist, four former SA amateur champions will all box on the undercard, among them highly-touted Ricky Tshabalala, in what is surely a first for SA boxing. Berman added that Kevin Lerena would fight on the same bill given the issues he is having travelling to the US next month. The anticipated change means it will most likely be a keep-busy fight rather than a top-level one. The cruiserweight will then definitely fight in the US on Boo Boo Andrade’s undercard in June. Having been repeatedly prodded by Johnny Muller about a third fight between the pair – they are one win apiece – Lerena said he was chasing down bigger names. He did, however, offer a glimmer of hope, saying that in the event of him winning a belt, he would give Muller a fair crack. “For now,” he quipped, “if it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense.” Berman also revealed that Xolisani Ndongeni would probably fight on a Western Cape tournament in late May to keep the cobwebs from setting in. He, too, ought to get his crack in the US before long. The June tournament is headlined by Thabiso Mchunu against Johnny Muller, a fight that has all the hallmarks of a terrific South African scrap. Muller is truly at the crossroads. A win would resuscitate his flagging career, but a loss would be catastrophic. Muller said that as a light-heavyweight his style was to “pik pik” (tap tap) his opponents, but he vowed to hit far harder at cruiserweight, as he must if he hopes to defeat Mchunu. Mchunu also needs to show something special if he is to rebound from his title setback against Oleksandr Usyk. The ABU belt will be on the line, too, so there’s much to fight for between the cruiserweights. IBO boss Konkco will also feature, against Lito Donte, all part of Berman’s grand design of making the South African the leading strawweight in the world. The SA man will have his work cut out for him. At the weekend Donte put paid to Jay Loto’s unbeaten run with a 12-round beatdown for the WBC International title in Manila. Another top match-up pits SA super-middleweight champion Lee Dyer against Alfonso Tissen for the ABU title
Norman Hlabane

Still No recognition

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in South African Boxing Trainers
Five great SA trainers
By: Ron Jackson | 31 Jan | 09:18
© supersport.com
Norman Hlabane
Norman Hlabane

South Africa has had some great trainers over the past 60 years but the question is, what makes a great trainer?

There are a number of attributes that make a good trainer and they are patience, caring for their fighters, and expecting dedication and hard work from their fighters.

Going back 60 years in South African boxing, Job Sebalo, Norman Hlabane, Theo Mthembu, Richard Samuels, and David Motsumi definitely had these qualities.

Norman Hlabane, who fought as a welterweight and had 21 fights as a professional, met top fighters like Enoch “Schoolboy” Nhlapo (on two occasions), Morgan Moledi, Gordon Goba, and Mckeed Mofokeng.

He was badly injured while doing roadwork and had to retire from boxing in 1982 before he began training fighters at John Middleton’s gym in Johannesburg.

Among the fighters he trained were Ditau Molefyane, Peter Mgojo, Keith Rass, and Bobby Chisale.

His greatest achievement as a trainer was guiding Dingaan Thobela one of the greatest fighters in South Africa in recent years, to winning the South African junior-lightweight and super- middleweight titles, the WBO and WBA lightweight world titles and WBC super-middleweight title.

Job Sebalo, who lived in Sophiatown before moving to Rockville, was a principal at a school in Soweto and spent a lot of time after hours training both amateur and professional fighters.

Job, together with Rueben Mosoeu, was one of the founder members of the Chappie Blackburn Boxing Club in Meadowlands.

Among the boxers who were trained and managed by Sebalo and Mosoeu were South African welterweight champion Fondie “Iron Man” Mavuso, featherweight Dedrick Letsolo and bantamweights Jarius Mabe and Sydney Lekwape.

Sebalo also made a contribution to amateur boxing when he took over as chairman of the Transvaal Amateur Boxing Association from Fred Thabethe.

He trained Arthur “The Fighting Prince” Mayisela in the early part of his career before he won the South African junior welterweight title after leaving Sebalo.

Job trained Jerry Mbitse, who won the South African junior featherweight title in September 1983, and two other quality fighters, Bushy Mosoeu and Daniel Sereme.


Theo Mthembu, who fought as a professional lightweight from 1948 to 1951, went in against fighters like Speedy Bandes, Gladstone Mahlo, Morgan Moledi, Gordon Goba, and Mackeed Mofokeng, before his career was cut short after a near fatal bullet wound.

He was also a boxing writer for the Eastern Province edition of the Golden City Post and the Drum, and on returning to Johannesburg in 1962 he remained with the Golden City Post until it ceased publication. Theo also wrote for the Sunday Times and spent 16 years with the Mining Sun.

He trained South African champions Levi Madi and Anthony Morodi but his greatest achievement was with Baby Jake Matlala who would win the South African junior flyweight title and four world titles, WBO flyweight and WBO, IBA and WBU junior flyweight titles.

Two other standout trainers were Richard “Skappie” Samuels, who guided Elijah “Ellis Brown” Mokone, one of the finest and most skilful fighters produced in the country, to the South African featherweight and lightweight titles; and David Motsumi, who handled the career of Sexton “Wonderboy” Mabena, who fought in the 1950s and ‘60s and captured the South African bantamweight and featherweight titles.

Samuels, who was based in Meadowlands, also coached Ernest “Duke” Moledi, a promising welterweight.

Motsumi, from the Vaal Triangle area, worked mostly with fighters from Sharpeville and Evaton and was also instrumental in the success of fighters like German “Mauser” Mhlambi, Elias “Baby Face” Tshabalala and Steve Kgotle.

All of the above mentioned trainers have contributed a lot to South African boxing and produced many champions but have never been given the recognition they deserved.

Luck collides with Lerena’s US launch

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Luck collides with Lerena’s US launch

Provided Kevin Lerena does the business against Sergio Ramirez later this month, he could be handed a special opportunity on June 10.

Not only is he slated to fight on Boo Boo Andrade’s first title defence on that date in America, but it will be held on the weekend of the International Boxing Hall of Fame inductions.

Among the inductees this year are the trio of greats Marco Antonio Barrera, Evander Holyfield and the late Johnny Tapia.

Upstate New York is a hive of activity on Hall of Fame weekend and making it even better is that the tournament venue, the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, is a mere 16km from Canastota, where the Hall of Fame is based.

“Many important people will be in town, so there’s a great opportunity for Kevin. His looks, speed and ability make him a great package. All he needs to do is turn it on and the world will be his oyster,” predicted Rodney Berman, at the same time conceding that the first order of business is at Emperors Palace on April 23.

name alias W-L-D
last 6
career division residence  
Kevin Lerena The KO Kid 17 1 0   2011-2017 cruiserweight

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

last 6

W   L   D
17   1   0
9 KOs   0 KOs    
role Boxer
bouts 18
rounds 102
KOs 50%
global ID 587030
alias The KO Kid
born 1992-05-05 / age 24
debut 2011-11-30
division cruiserweight
stance southpaw
height 6′ 1″   /   185cm
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Karam wins Gauteng title

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Jade Karam won the vacant Gauteng middleweight title when Wynand Mulder failed to answer the bell for the sixth round at the Presley’s Nightclub in Boksburg on Thursday night.

There was very little action through the first two rounds, until Mulder landed a flurry of punches just before the bell at the end of the second round.

However, the fight developed into a sloppy affair in rounds three and four with both fighters lunging and missing badly.

In round five Karam (72.50 kg) picked up the pace and sent Mulder (71.84 kg) down for an eight count with a series of lefts and rights.

Mulder, who appeared to be tiring, did not come out at the bell for the sixth round.

It was later revealed that Karam will relinquish the title as he is relocating to Ireland in May.

On Friday night at the Dr Petrus Molemela Indoor Centre in Bloemfontein, Sphamandla Baleni (47.40 kg) retained his South African strawweight title with a 12-round points decision over Thembani Okolo (47.48 kg), and Tsiko Mulovhedzi (66.40 kg) won the vacant IBF International welterweight title when he outpointed Dario Socci (66.60 kg) from Italy over 12 rounds.

On the same card, former South African flyweight champion Makazole Tete (55.00 kg), fighting at junior featherweight, outpointed Cleutus Mbhele (53.48 kg) over six rounds.

Other results:

Arnel Lubisi W pts 4 Layten Gloss – junior featherweight.

Luke Hendrikz W tko 2 Kwanele Mkhwanazi – featherweight.

Wade Groth W tko 3 Benjamin Thababetse – middleweight.

Clement Kamanga W tko 1 Andile Mabilisa – welterweight.

Fortune Muyumba W pts 6 Valentino Mutumba – welterweight.

Jarred Silverman W pts 6 Vusi Bilankulu – welterweight.

Xolani Mgidi W pts 8 Junior Assoya – junior welterweight.

Career Record

date lbs opponent lbs


159¾ Wynand Mulder 158¼ 3 3 1

Presleys Restaurant, Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W RTD 5/10

time: 3:00


162¾ Dido Mukanya 162¼ 6 2 0

Presleys Restaurant, Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W PTS 6/6



159½ Dennis Mbath 154¾ 0 4 0

Southern Suburbs Recreation Cent, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W PTS 6/6



160 Harrison Johnson 157¾ 0 1 0

Apache Pub, Alrode, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W TKO 6/6



161¾ Christian Okeke 167¼ 1 2 0

Wembley Indoor Arena, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W TKO 4/6



160 Barend van Rooyen 159¼ 21 3 1

Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa

L TKO 10/10



162½ Christopher Monyai 162½ 1 6 1

Walter Sisulu Hall, Randburg, Gauteng, South Africa

L PTS 6/6



166¾ Christopher Monyai 167 1 5 1

Presleys Restaurant, Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W PTS 6/6



171¾ Fiston Kabamba 172¾ 1 0 1

Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa

W SD 4/4



173¾ Fiston Kabamba 173¾ 0 0 1

Southern Suburbs Recreation Cent, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

L SD 4/4



172½ Christian Okeke 195½ 0 1 0

Presley’s Nightclub, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

W PTS 4/4



173¼ Fiston Kabamba 175 debut

Presley’s Nightclub, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

D PTS 4/4



178 Yomi Shokunbi 175¼ debut

Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Gauteng, South Africa

D PTS 4/4



178¼ Nkosinathi Malinga 180¾ 0 1 0

Turfontein Race Cource, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

W TKO 1/4

New WBA Pan African super middleweight champion

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Patrick Mukala

Rising star boxer Patrick Mukala was crowned the new WBA Pan African super middleweight champion on Saturday evening, he beat  Daniel Lartey with a convincing TKO in the 8th round of there 12 round bout. Veteran trainer Ashley Fourie said,  despite Mukala, 23, from Congo, being matched against the dangerous Daniel Lartey,  Mukala has superior power , having knocked out six of his seven opponents, while the Ghanaian, who was also undefeated in his six bouts, has floored only four of his foes.

Real Steel Promotions' "Raise the Stakes" tournament at Kempton Park Indoor Sports Centre.

Fourie, a former professional boxer, described Mukala as a special boxer.

"I knew the first day I started training Patrick two-and-a-half years ago that this kid is something special," said Fourie. "We have been training since our last fight - six hours a day, three in the morning and three in the afternoon.

"Patrick is super fit. He will be crowned and that win will be the first step towards bigger things."

Mukala last fought in August when he stopped Khayeni Hlungwane in the first round.

Career Record

Magwaca wins WBF belt

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in South African Boxers
by Ron Jackson 01 April 2017, 12:56


South Africa’s Mzuvukile Magwaca captured the vacant World Boxing Federation bantamweight belt when he beat Jason Canoy from the Philippines on a 12-round split decision in Khayelitsha near Cape Town on Friday night.

Judges Clifford Mbelu and Eddie Marshall scored the fight 117-112 and 117-110 in favour of Magwaca, whilst judge Darryl Ribbink scored it 115-114 for Canoy.

Canoy (26-7-2; 19) attacked from the opening bell and was the aggressor through most of the fight, scoring to the body and head with combinations.

However, Magwaca, (18-0-2; 10) fought off the back foot as he used his longer reach and educated left jab to score points.

Magwaca went down on one occasion but this was ruled as a slip by the referee.

Magwaca and Canoy are not listed in the latest rankings on the WBF website.

Meanwhile, at the Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward on Friday night Ruann Visser beat Ashraf Suleiman (Tanzania) on a third round technical knockout to win the vacant ABU Southern Africa heavyweight title.

South African Champions

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Willie Smith – bantamweight, British version (1927)
Toweel – bantamweight, Universal (1950)
Taylor – WBA bantamweight (1973)
Mathebula – WBA flyweight (1980)
Coetzee – WBA heavyweight (1983)
Crous – WBA junior heavyweight (1984)
Mitchell – WBA junior lightweight (1986)
Ncita – WBA & IBF junior featherweight (1990)
Thobela – WBO lightweight (1990)
Mitchell – IBF junior lightweight (1991)
Molefyane – WBF junior lightweight (1993)
Matlala – WBO flyweight (1993)
Thobela – WBA lightweight (1993)
Bungu – IBF junior featherweight (1994)
Botile – IBF bantamweight (1995)
Holliday – IBF lightweight (1995)
Murray – WBU welterweight (1995)
Matlala – WBO junior flyweight (1995)
Ntshingila – IBC featherweight (1995)
Botha – IBF heavyweight (1995)
Malinga – WBC super middleweight (1996)
Magxwalisa – WBU super flyweight (1996)
Sikali – WBU junior flyweight (1996)
Baloyi – WBU junior featherweight (1996)
Ledwaba – WBU bantamweight (1996)
Matlala – IBA junior flyweight (1997)
Malinga – WBU welterweight (1997)
Quka – WBU bantamweight (1997)
Sanders – WBU heavyweight (1997)
Malinga – WBC super middleweight (1997)
Petelo – IBF mini flyweight (1997)
Baloyi – WBU featherweight (1998)
Malinga – WBF super middleweight (1998)
Sikali – WBU junior bantamweight (1998)
Ramoni – IBO super bantamweight (1998)
Makambi – IBO middleweight (1998)
Mofokeng – WBU cruiserweight (1998)
Memani – WBU strawweight (1998)
Makepula – WBU junior flyweight (1998)
Ledwaba – IBF junior featherweight (1999)
Rothmann – WBU cruiserweight (1999)
Maqolo – WBF mini flyweight (1999)
Mbityi – IBO flyweight (1999)
Malinga – IBO welterweight (1999)
Makepula – WBO junior flyweight (2000)
Barnardo – WBF heavyweight (2000)
Thobela – WBC super middleweight (2000)
Botile – IBF featherweight (2000)
Matlala – WBU junior flyweight (2001)
Sanders – WBO heavyweight (2003)


Ref: BoxingSA website