Boxing Snippets

Lucky looking to light up Sunday fights

Lucky Monyebane, left, challenges for the SA title on Sunday. Pic: N-SQUARED

Rather than being daunted by the challenge of fighting the best junior-lightweight in South Africa, Lucky Monyebane is jumping out of his skin ahead of his SA title challenge on Sunday.

The exciting prospect fights Phila Mpontshane at the Portuguese Hall in Johannesburg.

“You ask me if it’s not too soon, but if you get an opportunity, you must go for it,” he said. “I want to fight the best.”

Monyebane, a product of the Dikebu Boxing Club, an initiative started several years ago in collaboration with Golden Gloves, has had just six pro fights (5-1), but is very bullish.

“The only thing I know about the champion is that he’s a good up-and-coming boxer with a lot of power. But I like that. He’ll come hard through the first six rounds, but then he’ll tire. That’s when I get stronger.”

Monyebane enjoyed his most successful outing when he stopped battle-hardened Ashley Dlamini in April to earn his title shot. It was an assured performance that justified promoter Rodney Berman’s faith in him.

“It’s an interesting fight,” said the promoter. “On the one hand we’re helping keep Mzi Mnguni’s fighter – the champion – busy; on the other it is unbelievable that a contender has emerged from the fruits of our very special relationship with Dikebu. I have great respect for the two young men from Hammanskraal, Simon Sheila and Kagiso Moleko, who had a vision. Dikebu has a gym encouraging clean living and fitness for the youth of the community.”

Monyebane is deeply proud of this initiative. “I’m the first pro athlete from this community. I’m motivating a lot of people . . . I must work hard.”

One of the most visible signs of this becomes apparent every time he fights: hundreds of fans make the trip to Emperors Palace to watch him box, carrying him shoulder high and singing. Indeed, on Sunday there will be three busloads to ensure the roof comes off the famous old venue south of Johannesburg.

Monyebane will need to be at his best. Mpontshane is a very accomplished fighter, as he demonstrated when beating Aphiwe Mboyiya for the title last year. With just a single defeat in a dozen fights, he has his eye on the world scene.

Monyebane has enjoyed solid sparring against Brandon Thysse and Lusanda Komanisi and insists he more than held his own against the pair of hot shots.

On Sunday, however, he will need to do more than hold his own. He must bring the fight to Mpontshane, using his speed to win rounds and his legion of fans to inspire him.


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