DeeJay Kriel turned 22 yesterday. Among his glad tidings was confirmation that he will challenge for the vacant WBC International minimumweight title against Dexter Alimento of the Philippines on July 23.
Alimento has a similar record to Kriel – 12-1 – and has mixed it with a range of experienced fighters in the East, among them 69-fight veteran Rodel Tejares. Last year he also won the WBC Youth title, venturing to Thailand where he secured an eighth-round win.
Kriel, in turn, has built his 11-1 record against local opposition and is one of the brightest prospects on the block. This will be his first international fight and represents a calculated step up. Golden Gloves boss Rodney Berman said that Kriel continued to impress him and it was time to push him harder towards a major ranking.
“Things are very fluid in his division where fighters from the East tend to dominate. But we’ve had success here in the past and Simpiwe Konkco is but one example of this.”
Trainer Colin Nathan is cautiously optimistic. “This Dexter kid is young and looks very capable. He can punch, too, but that doesn’t faze us. We’re putting the work in and DeeJay will be more than ready come July 23.”