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‘Magic Man’ tops August big-fight action at Emperors Palace

Ricardo Malajika will make the second defence of his IBO bantamweight championship against Yanga Sigqibo at Emperors Palace on August 23.

Confirming the news, Golden Gloves CEO Rodney Berman banked on one of SA boxing’s long-standing truths: the best fights are the ones that pit local rivals against one another.

Sigqibo has won 15 of his last 16 bouts, having paid his dues against a solid mix of homegrown and overseas talent.

“No Quarter Given” is thus an apt title for the tournament that includes several up-and-coming talents, plus rejuvenated Chris Thompson, the former SA heavyweight champion.

“It promises to be another night of red-hot action and drama,” said Berman. “Malajika, especially, has matured into an excellent champion who may come to carry SA boxing. Yes, he’s that good.”

The champion will attempt to repeat the irrepressible form he showed in his last outing, a shutout of British and Commonwealth champion Marcel Braithwaite, who had no answer to his speed and volume punching.

Sigqibo is a pure boxer with more fights – 21 – than Malajika (15) and enjoyed a long reign as the WBO’s Intercontinental champion. Ranked 12th by the WBC and 16th overall by Boxrec, he represents the perfect opportunity for the champion to embellish his growing reputation on the world stage

For all Malajika’s silky skills, however, Sigqibo will believe he can match, and even better him, in this department in their 12-rounder.

In comparing the two, this showdown has shades of the memorable clash between Baby Jake Matlala and Hawk Makepula for the WBO title 24 years ago. Both huge names, they predicted a hard-fought battle and so it proved as the younger Makepula was pushed all the way by the heroic Matlala, winning a decision.

Also on the undercard, Brandon Thysse, having looked so assured last time out, is rewarded with a crack at the SA junior-middleweight title against Junior Makondo.

Thysse was given all the trouble he could handle by Darrin Rossouw, but boxed with supreme maturity to gain a handsome points win.

He will be hoping it’s third time lucky, having fallen short in two previous shots at the title.

Makondo is a game puncher who won’t likely get another shot, and word is he is already dialled in preparing to upset the home fighter. Thysse ought to have his hands full.

Thompson, meanwhile, gets due reward for his entertaining fight last time out and is matched against Alexandra Dru of Romania in an eight-rounder at bridgerweight.

Several prospects will fill out the card, among them Juan Alberts, Ryno Liebenberg’s young heavyweight, plus middleweight Dean Promnick (against Morgan Hunter) and Keanu Koopman, the hard-punching welterweight newcomer.

Boxing starts at 7pm.


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