Boxing Snippets

Campbell-Liebenberg super fight back in the works for March as Golden Gloves try to revive local rivalries.

Fans watching Kevin Lerena fight Bilal Laggoune for the inaugural WBC bridgerweight silver title at home on Supersport on the 13th of March, may well be in for another treat.
There is one local fight that everyone in South Africa wants to see: The crossroads super middleweight bout between popular warhorse, Ryno “The Lion” Liebenberg and undefeated up-and-comer, Rowan “Braveheart” Campbell. The fight was scheduled to take place in December but fell apart amid huge uproar in the local media.
When a door closes, somewhere a window opens, and promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves is working hard at reviving the fight, which will be a ten rounder and will probably form the main supporting bout of the card.
A Liebenberg-Campbell fight is guaranteed to deliver the action. It is a local rivalry that has seen a lot of back-and-forth between the two camps with no love lost on either side.
Then there is the undefeated junior bantamweight prospect, Ricardo “Magic Man” Malajika. There were tentative plans to challenge IBO junior bantamweight world champion, Gideon Buthelezi, but the Buthelezi camp have priced themselves out of the market for now. A four-time, three weight IBO world champion, who also holds a victory over Hekkie Budler, Buthelezi would have represented a huge leap up in class for Malajika, who was less than impressive in his last two outings.
Malajika will instead engage in an eight rounder against an opponent to be finalized.
He has also made the move to new trainer, Vusi Mtolo, who has worked wonders with Roarke Knapp. It would be interesting to see what he can do for Malajika.
Then there is another fight that interests Berman: A possible welterweight showdown between unbeaten Jabulani Makhense and once beaten former IBO world champion, Thulani Mbenge.
The latter was flying high until he lost his title on a contentious decision to Sebastian Formella in Germany. He has since returned with two wins and was very impressive in his last outing, knocking out Mziwoxolo Ndwayana in four rounds to regain the South African title he once held.
Makhense had a rough time in his last outing, winning a decision over a common opponent, spoiler, Kuvesa Katembo. A Makhense-Mbenge fight will make for a much more attractive stylistic matchup and will show the boxing public exactly who is going where in their careers.
With all the challenges that sport is facing amid the pandemic, which is well into its second wave, reviving the “local is lekker theme” seems like the obvious solution for keeping South African boxing afloat. For that to happen, however, all parties will have to be realistic in their expectations.
Berman believes there is a good chance that these fights may happen after all. “These are not normal times. There is no money available from live gates. Big international stars have taken pay cuts the last year. If everyone can be reasonable in their demands, there is no reason why we can’t still put these fights together.”
Here is hoping that the fighting can move from the board room into the ring!

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