Patrick Mukala may be the best SA-based fighter you’ve never heard of.
That’s because he hasn’t featured on any high-profile bills and doesn’t shout his mouth off.
Next month, the quietly-spoken aspirant gets his crack at stardom when he fights former world-ranked light-heavyweight Ryno Liebenberg in a super-middleweight 10-rounder at Emperors Palace.
The DRC-born fighter is officially 9-0 (8 KOs), but his pro record excludes 11 bouts (10 KOs) he had in his native DRC before moving to SA.
Experienced former pro boxer Ashley Fourie trains the 23-year-old and says that Mukala is headed for the top.
“The day he walked into my gym I knew he was special. I drove home like a maniac . . . I believed I had a future champion on my hands.”
Mukala is a natural puncher whose ability is rooted in his fierce dedication to training. Routine 20km runs are supplemented by a brutal gym programme, which he never shirks. Even when he’s left alone, he trains like a demon, determined to be fitter than his opponents.
His best win came in his most recent fight in Botswana, against 38-fight veteran Daniel Wanyonyi, who was taken apart in three rounds.
“This kid is so good,” says Fourie. “Ryno says he’s fought no-one, but the guys he’s knocked off have all been number one or two contenders. We’ve done our homework; the fans are in for a big surprise.”
Having recently sparred with Isaac Chilemba and mixed it up with an array of DRC boxers, Mukala will conclude his training with a camp in Port Edward that starts tomorrow. Fourie will have him running along the Mtamvuna River and chopping wood in the nearby forest.
“Fitness won’t be a problem,” Fourie insists. “Patrick has wanted this all his life. This is his chance, and he won’t be wasting it.”