Boxing Snippets

Fighting talk ahead of big show

If the vibe at the Smith’s gym north of Joburg yesterday afternoon was any indication, the “Thunder and Lightning” tournament at Emperors Palace next month has gripped the public’s attention.

Over 100 people crammed into the facility as the fighters conducted an impromptu question-and-answer session with MC Brian Mitchell, after which each one worked out in the ring.

A cocktail of speed and excitement was the result with onlookers cheering on Hekkie Budler, Ryno Liebenberg, Kevin Lerena, Thulani Mbenge and Rowan Campbell, who all feature on February 4.

Lerena revealed that he would be putting in an official request to fight with Rival gloves over the usual local brand on account of them being a better fit. What he neglected to say was that Rival is known as a puncher’s glove with Vasyl Lomachenko, Keith Thurman and Artur Beterbiev all using the Canadian brand. Fireworks, presumably, could be in store against Vikapita Meroro who shapes up as a difficult foe who won’t easily be chopped down.

“Preparation has been good,” said the WBO’s number five cruiserweight contender. “I worked really hard through December. A world title isn’t that far off, but I want to build my brand to the point where it becomes a big-money fight. That will only happen if I keep on winning.”

Liebenberg, who fights Enrico Koelling in a much-anticipated rematch, remarked that he hoped the judges would give him a fair shake after the controversy of their first fight.

“This guy just blocks. It’s hard to knock him out, but I’m gonna try.”

Budler will be chasing down his fourth world title against Joey Canoy. He admitted that last year’s shattering defeat to Byron Rojas had brought him down to earth. “It made me work harder . . . I’ve got the fires burning again. I’m aiming to become the number one junior-flyweight in the world.”




Related Articles

Check Also
Back to top button