Boxing Snippets

Countdown to Palace extravaganza

DeeJay Kriel, Thulani Mbenge and Thabiso Mchunu – bringing it hard on June 23. Pic: N-SQUARED

The three main fighters involved in next month’s major bill – “Bombs Away” at Emperors Palace – were all in confident mood at yesterday’s media open day held at the Smith’s gym in Fourways.

Looking trim and fit, Thulani Mbenge, Thabiso Mchunu and DeeJay Kriel were happy to shoot the breeze with the assembled media and were predictably in bullish mood about their upcoming fights.

“This is a big opportunity,” said Mbenge, who fights dangerous puncher Diego Gabriel Chaves. “This is an individual sport, but we’re working as a team here at the gym. I don’t care who I fight. I don’t know the guy [Chaves] but I’m always in top shape and I’ll be ready.”

Brian Mitchell gets the lowdown from Sean Smith and Thulani Mbenge. Pic: N-SQUARED

Said Shaun Smith, Mbenge’s trainer: “It’s an honour to be centre stage. It’s a great chance to make a name for himself. I’ve seen the videos. If we prepare right, ‘Tulz’ can take care of business next month.”

Mchunu, the perennial cruiserweight contender, takes a first step back towards the rankings with a fight against Ricards Bolotniks of Latvia. It represents his final run for a title, not that he’s intimidated by the challenge.

“I’ve watched him for one or two rounds,” said the southpaw. “He’s a good boxer, but I’m better.”

Added Smith: “This is the right fight at the right time for Thabiso. A good win can open doors in a big way, especially with several of the major names moving up to heavyweight. He knows he must produce.”

Effervescent Kriel, who faces Toto Landero, said he was prepared to fight anyone, although he stopped short of embracing the idea – floated by MC Brian Mitchell – of going in against stablemate Simpiwe Konkco.

“He’s one of my best friends, he’s like my brother,” said Kriel.

That fight may yet come, but for now his focus is on the Filipino. “We’ll have a plan and I’ll execute it. That’s what I always do.”

Headliner Thulani Mbenge in confident mood. Pic: N-SQUARED


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