Boxing Snippets

It’s Ness’ moment to shine

Shaun Ness, craving his chance in the spotlight.

To hear the fans tell it, champion Shaun Ness is the B side in his title fight against Thulani Mbenge at Emperors Palace on April 28.

But Ness, being a reserved, self-assured fighter, doesn’t mind. He says the fans can make up their own mind when he defends his welterweight crown against the hot prospect.

It’s a major opportunity for the champion (10-1-2), who tops the card at a venue that has become synonymous with great fights. He’s 33, so time isn’t on his side, and he’s aware of the need to put on a show if his career is to catch alight.

Despite being a pro since 2010, he’s only had 13 fights. He’s often had to endure fight cancellations and delays, which has stalled his momentum. “I keep training, but, yes, it gets frustrating. I can’t just train and train. I need action too, which is why I was so pleased to land this fight.”

He’s under no illusions, acknowledging Mbenge’s prowess.

“He has a lot of power. I need to avoid that and work around that, I can’t be sloppy. I’m very up for it. [Trainers] Colin Nathan and Vusi Mtolo have devised a good plan. The camp will be hard. They’ve also added strength training to my regimen.

“Mbenge is very good, no question, but he hasn’t been tested. I see flaws, which I hope to expose.”

Although he’s been SA champion since 2015, the reality is that April 23 will be Ness’ coming out party – if he wants it to be. Should he capitalise, there ought to be bigger fights down the road; the action he believes he deserves.

“I can’t stay at this level, I need to get moving,” he said yesterday.

Ness has earned his dues. The son of renowned amateur trainer Nicky, he has boxed on and off since the age of eight. He wrecked his knee in 2003 and the injury contributed to a five-year gap when he never boxed at all.

Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Ness says he feels stronger than ever and has no weight issues. He says he loved watching Marvin Hagler because he was gritty and relentless, qualities he believes he’ll need come April 23.

“Everyone is talking about Mbenge. That’s no problem. They’ll know my name soon enough.”



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