Funeka ready to de­fend IBO ti­tle

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­

In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IBO) wel­ter­weight cham­pion Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka will fi­nally get a chance to de­fend his ti­tle – af­ter al­most eight months of un­cer­tainty.

The 37-year-old will take on Lim­popo chal­lenger Tsiko Mulovhedzi at the East Lon­don In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre on July 24.

Funeka has not fought since beat­ing Rus­sian Ro­man Be­laev to win the then va­cant crown in Novem­ber.

“I feel very happy to be af­forded the chance to de­fend my crown.

“I have been wor­ried that I might lose my ti­tle due to a lack of fights,” said Funeka, whose ring record reads 36 wins, four defeats and three draws in 43 out­ings.

Mulovhedzi (27) holds the na­tional crown and has 19 pro­fes­sional bouts.

“I’m ready to teach Funeka a box­ing les­son be­cause I have been train­ing very hard,” said Mulovhedzi.

Xaba Pro­mo­tions is man­ag­ing the event, with the un­der­card fea­tur­ing IBO ju­nior ban­tamweight king­pin Lwandile Sity­atha, who will de­fend his ti­tle against Gideon Buthelezi.

Mean­while, lo­cal cruis­er­weight king­pin Deon Coet­zee will put his cham­pi­onship belt on the line against Kevin Ler­ena at Em­per­ors Palace on July 30.

Coet­zee won the then va­cant cham­pi­onship by stop­ping Be­van Beck­man in the ninth round last July.

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