Hur­ri­cane, Rock brace for brawl

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

Box­ing fans will be on the edges of their seats when the much awaited clash be­tween Johnny “The Hur­ri­cane” Muller and Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu takes place at Em­per­ors Palace on Satur­day. The pugilists will ex­change leather for the va­cant African Box­ing Union (ABU) cruis­er­weight ti­tle in a Golden Gloves tour­na­ment. What will make the fight in­ter­est­ing is that the box­ers are ranked num­ber one and two in con­tention for the na­tional cham­pi­onship, re­lin­quished by Kevin Ler­ena three weeks ago as he pur­sued a world ti­tle. The bout for the con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship will most likely be ex­plo­sive from the first gong as the two come from re­cent de­feats. Mchunu (29) was knocked out in the ninth round by Olek­sandr Usyk for the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion ti­tle at The Fo­rum in Cal­i­for­nia in De­cem­ber. Muller (26) suf­fered a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion de­feat at the hands of Den­mark’s Micki Nielsen at Em­per­ors Palace last June. How­ever, The Rock may have an edge over the vastly ex­pe­ri­enced Hur­ri­cane – Mchunu will cap­i­talise on his south­paw stance to win. Muller strug­gles against left-handed op­po­nents, as ev­i­denced by the pound­ing he was given by Nielsen at the same venue. This could be his un­do­ing against Mchunu, who car­ries a mean punch and has won 17 fights (11 by knockout) and lost three times in 20. But Muller, who is ortho­dox, is vastly ex­pe­ri­enced, hav­ing chalked up 20 wins, seven de­feats and two draws from 29 out­ings. Four­teen of his vic­to­ries came by way of knockout. With this clash be­ing so highly an­tic­i­pated, there is no doubt that it will start at a fre­netic pace with both vy­ing to end pro­ceed­ings in­side the dis­tance. But the skills of The Rock will likely si­lence the usu­ally vo­cif­er­ous Hur­ri­cane fans.

PHOTO: AN­TON GEYSER / GALLO IM­AGES

BANGER Johnny Muller will bring his vast ex­pe­ri­ence to the fight

PHOTO: MTHOKOZISI DLUDLA

SKIL­FUL Thabiso Mchunu will fight for the ABU crown

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