Local boxing fans will be in for a treat in September. Golden Gloves has big plans for the youngsters in their stable with two of them set to fight for national titles at Emperor’s Palace, pending approval from Boxing South Africa.
Blue chip prospect, the undefeated Shervontaigh Koopman is set to challenge South African junior middleweight champion, Simon Dladla. Koopman impressed in his last fight, running his record to 7-0 with five knockouts by handing Jacques Tshikubu Muvud from the DRC his first loss. Koopman prevailed by unanimous decision in a six-round war, his longest fight as a professional. It will be interesting to see how Koopman will handle the twelve-round distance.
Dladla, for his part, will be eager to rebound from his first defeat. He was stopped by Roarke Knapp in his last outing in December, but it could be argued that he is the more seasoned fighter. He has been ten rounds before and has some decent stoppage wins over the likes of Donjuan van Heerden and John Bopape, who recently upset South African middleweight champion, Nkululeko Mhlongo.
Another fighter who will be looking to put his first loss behind him will be 7-1 junior bantamweight, Ricardo Malajika. The highly touted prospect dropped a split decision to Sabelo Ngebinyana in his last outing and the pressure is on to show the public that he is still the “Magic Man.”
He has a tough road back though. Standing in his way will be 13-2 Sikho Nqothole. With nine knockouts Nqothole can punch, and he is motivated for the fight. His only two losses came against the same Negbinyana but he has won two fights since to right the ship.
Then there is the vacant South African super middleweight title, which will be contested between 6-0 Cowin Ray and 7-3 Frank Rodrigues.
Ray impressed in his last outing, when he returned from a sabbatical to stop Karabo Mokupi in two rounds.
The young man is undoubtedly talented, but he will have his hands full with Rodrigues, who is nicknamed “The Tank.” This will be Rodrigues second challenge for national honors. He failed in a previous attempt at the South African light heavyweight title when he was stopped in 11 rounds by Nicholas Radley after a spirited effort. He has since moved down a division and seems better suited for the lighter weight.
Everyone loves a heavyweight who brings the action, and 5-0 Wilhelm Nebe can give one as well as take one in return. He was devastating in his last outing, pole axing Jean Pierre Steenkamp inside a round with a massive left hook. The giant Nebe, nicknamed “The Dragon,” will be taking a step up when he takes on former South African title challenger, Josh “Red Beast” Pretorius.
The 7-5 Pretorius was out boxed by Tian Fick for the national title in December last year, but he has been in against better quality opponents, such as Flo Simba and Justice Siliga. He has only failed to answer the final bell once and it will be interesting to see whether Nebe can keep the knockouts coming.
The card will be broadcast live by Supersport.