The long anticipated second encounter between Brandon “Fast Guns” Thysse and Roarke “Razor” Knapp is tentatively scheduled for the end of May at Emperor’s Palace. The exact date still needs to be confirmed but fans can rest assured that they will finally see these two settle their differences once and for all.
The vacant ABU super welterweight title will also be on the line. The African Boxing Union is an affiliate of the WBC, and their title has often been a steppingstone into the WBC world rankings.
Their first encounter, which formed part of the 4@War junior middleweight tournament, was a slam bang affair with Thysse prevailing by seventh round knockout. Thysse, of course, went on to win the tournament, knocking out Boyd Allen in the final.
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then and one could argue that neither is the same fighter.
Thysse’s improvement under trainer, Damien Durandt, has been steady. His solid jab has always been there, but he has added a formidable body attack and is boxing in a more disciplined fashion these days, gradually picking his opponent apart before going for the kill. In his sole outing of 2021, he looked the complete package when he became the first man to beat Finland’s Tomi Silvennoinen inside the distance.
Knapp, for his part, dusted himself off and has recorded four stoppage wins since suffering his only defeat to Thysse. Among his victims were Tristan Truter and then national champion, Simon Dladla. Trained by Vusi Mtolo, Knapp has the speed, power, aggressive style, and charisma that fills seats. In short, he is an exciting fighter.
On the flipside, he is also vulnerable and can be hurt. The Thysse rematch almost didn’t happen. The pair was scheduled to meet in December when Thysse tested positive for COVID19. Cristiano Ndombassy was brought in as a last week substitute and almost upset the applecart. The dangerous Angolan nailed Knapp in the third round, sending him crashing to the canvass no less than three times. He looked all but out but each time managed to make it back to his feet. Somehow, he found the reserves to come roaring back in the next round, battering Ndombassey in the corner before his opponent retired at the start of the fifth round.
Has Knapp recovered from the punishment he took in his last fight? Does he have the punch resistance to stand up to Thysse? Statistically a fighter who stops his opponent in the first fight, does so quicker in the rematch. Or will Thysse look at the Ndombassy fight and underestimate his rival?
We will find out soon enough..
It doesn’t end with Knapp-Thysse though. What will probably be the most anticipated local encounter is sure to fill Emperor’s Palace and that means a stacked undercard will accompany the main event. Welcome action for a roster of talented fighters waiting in the wings!