Mbenge vows to de­throne Ness

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Thu­lani Mbenge has vowed to add a 10th win to his un­beaten pro­fes­sional record by clinch­ing the South African wel­ter­weight ti­tle when he chal­lenges Shaun Ness at Em­per­ors Palace, Kemp­ton Park, this af­ter­noon.

The East­ern Cape-based Mbenge has won nine fights since turn­ing pro­fes­sional two years ago.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Ness has had 10 vic­to­ries, one loss and two draws in 13 bouts.

Mbenge is so con­fi­dent about his cur­rent run as a prized fighter that he be­lieves a new cham­pion will be crowned to­day.

“With only nine wins in my small record, it will be nice to reg­is­ter a 10th vic­tory in style by lift­ing the South African ti­tle. This will be some­thing very spe­cial for me,” said Mbenge, who also holds the African Boxing Union ti­tle.

He said he had seen Ness in ac­tion in all his fights and be­lieved the ti­tle holder was just an av­er­age fighter.

“The time has come for Shaun to hand the belt to me. He has fought no­bod­ies as a prized fighter, and I’m go­ing to end his reign by knock­ing him out.”

Mbenge, who is trained by Shaun Smith, reg­is­tered a sixround tech­ni­cal knock­out win over Ntuthuko Memela at Em­per­ors Palace in Fe­bru­ary. But Ness said he would not al­low his belt to be taken away. “Mbenge is just a loud­mouth and I will knock him out. I’m fit and ready to de­fend my ti­tle suc­cess­fully,” he said.

Ness won the then va­cant crown by beat­ing Anelisa Gungqisa by a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion at Nan­goza Jebe Hall in Port El­iz­a­beth in 2015. He de­fended the ti­tle against Ayanda Mthembu, whom he also out­pointed, at Em­per­ors Palace in July. The Golden Gloves bill will have five more bouts. Mean­while, Mzu­vuk­ile Mag­waca hopes that his life will im­prove now that he has won the World Boxing Fed­er­a­tion (WBF) ban­tamweight ti­tle.

The Dun­can Vil­lage-born fighter beat Filipino Ja­son Canoy by a split points de­ci­sion to win the crown at Oliver Tambo Sports Cen­tre in Khayelit­sha last month.

Mag­waca lost his World Boxing As­so­ci­a­tion ban­tamweight ti­tle be­cause he did not de­fend it for more than nine months.

“My life­style took a heavy knock as I experienced fi­nan­cial prob­lems af­ter los­ing my belt – I couldn’t get fights. Now that I’ve won the WBF belt, things will hope­fully go well for me as I will be in ac­tion reg­u­larly,” said Mag­waca.

PHOTO: LEE WAR­REN / GALLO IMAGES

FOES Thu­lani Mbenge and Shaun Ness will trade punches at Em­per­ors Palace to­day

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