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Knapp lands title shot, plus Koopman goes big

Roarke Knapp, SA boxing’s fastest rising star, will be back in the local ring on June 15 when he fights Jorge Garcia Perez of Mexico for the vacant IBO super welterweight (junior middleweight) title.

Knapp will headline the intriguing “No Mercy” bill at Emperors Palace, where his stock continues to rise after an eight-bout winning streak at the venue dating back to 2020.

The belt recently became vacant when the International Boxing Organisation stripped JJ Metcalf for inactivity, not having fought since winning the title 11 months ago.

Knapp has overcome a hand injury that has kept him out in recent months and is keen to pick up where he left off last year.

Not that Perez will be easy pickings. The Sinaloa-based boxer trades in heavy-duty punching, his 24 knockouts in 29 wins showing his penchant for the power game.

Last year, Perez upset two unbeaten fighters, and he began this year with a knockout that took him to 11 wins in his last 12 bouts.

Meanwhile, junior middleweight Shervantaigh Koopman’s fast rise will face serious examination when he steps in against US-based Wendy Toussaint, who is promoted by Hall of Famer Joe DeGuardia. The man known as “Haitian Fire” rebounded from a 2020 loss against highly rated former Olympian Charles Conwell with two compelling wins before a technical loss against unbeaten Ardreal Holmes last year when an accidental headbutt gave rise to a technical decision loss.

Toussaint, who lives with his mother and brother in Huntington, left his native Haiti at the age of 10 and first moved to French Guyana where he began to box. After joining a local team and travelling to different countries to fight, he and his family made the move to the United States seeking better opportunity and competition.

Toussaint is an all-action fighter with a high ring IQ who uses effective aggression to break down his opponents and is not afraid to go for the finish.

Also on the card, the “Flame of Zimbabwe” Beaven Sibanda, well known to local fans on account on five back-to-back wins at the casino venue, will fight experienced Siphamandla Baleni in a minimumweight 10-rounder.



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