Big Daddy wants to ditch SA crown

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­

A short­age of chal­lengers will force Os­borne “Big Daddy” Machi­mana to va­cate his South African heavy­weight ti­tle in May and pur­sue the in­ter­na­tional route.

Machi­mana has not de­fended his cham­pi­onship belt since win­ning it from An­ton Nel via a fourth-round knock­out at the Birch­wood Ho­tel in Brak­pan last May. This was the sec­ond time that the fight­ers met for the na­tional cham­pi­onship con­test. Their first clash saw Machi­mana beat Nel on points for the na­tional crown at Car­ni­val City, Brak­pan, in 2005.

It has been al­most nine months since “Big Daddy” last squared up for the South African cham­pi­onship.

He feels that lack of ac­tion, as a re­sult of no lo­cal op­po­nents chal­leng­ing him, does not au­gur well for his ca­reer. At the age of 38, Big Daddy is well past his prime, and needs to get reg­u­lar ac­tion lo­cally and abroad be­fore he hangs up his gloves. But no lo­cal foes are pre­pared to face him for his di­a­dem.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est rat­ings, Ruann Visser from Gaut­eng, who has lost once in 10 fights, is the num­ber one con­tender for Machi­mana’s belt, while Di­dier Kilola, who is from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo but is now based in the West­ern Cape, is placed sec­ond. Nel, from Gaut­eng, is third.

“I’ve de­cided to let go of the belt in May and pur­sue an in­ter­na­tional route. It doesn’t help be­ing a South African cham­pion and not be able to put your belt on the line,” said Machi­mana, who won a bronze medal at the All-Africa Games in Jo­han­nes­burg in 1999.

“I feel I’m get­ting old and need to de­fend my crown reg­u­larly. No con­tender is pre­pared to fight me.”

Big Daddy last threw punches com­pet­i­tively in Septem­ber, when he lost to Swede Otto Wallin by a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion over 10 rounds in Hovet, Stock­holm.

“I don’t have a pro­moter at the mo­ment and I re­gard my­self as a free­lancer,” he said.

Machi­mana’s man­ager Glen Craig said he was ne­go­ti­at­ing with Aus­tralian pro­moter Phillip Sil­ver to have Machi­mana slug it out with Aus­tralian Lu­cas Browne for the World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (WBA) heavy­weight ti­tle elim­i­na­tor in Aus­tralia. Browne pre­vi­ously held the WBA ti­tle.

“Browne and Machi­mana share the same nick­name – Big Daddy. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the fight goes,” said Craig.

Sil­ver, who heads Knock­out Box­ing Pro­mo­tions in Syd­ney, con­firmed that ne­go­ti­a­tions were con­tin­u­ing.

“I’ve been ap­proached by Os­borne’s man­age­ment to stage his fight against Browne. I’m keen to get the two in the ring here in Syd­ney. The date has not been fi­nalised yet and dis­cus­sions are ongoing,” said Sil­ver.

Browne (37), a for­mer mixed mar­tial artist from New South Wales, made his­tory last May by be­com­ing Aus­tralia’s first world heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion after win­ning the WBA ti­tle. How­ever, he was stripped of the crown two months later for fail­ing a drug test.

“I hear that his ban will be lifted soon, hence we’re keen to have him fight Os­borne,” Sil­ver said.

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