Rock in­tent on win­ning WBC ti­tle

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­

Fresh from win­ning the African Box­ing Union (ABU) cruis­er­weight ti­tle, Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu has set him­self the tar­get of em­u­lat­ing home­boy Thu­lani “Su­gar­boy” Malinga by win­ing the World Box­ing Coun­cil (WBC) ti­tle.

Mchunu has vowed to ac­com­plish this be­fore he hangs up his gloves in four years’ time.

The strong fighter from Cato Ridge in KwaZulu-Na­tal put up an im­pres­sive show­ing by beat­ing Johnny Muller via a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion in an ex­cit­ing clash to win the va­cant cruis­er­weight ti­tle at Em­per­ors Palace last Satur­day.

Su­gar­boy, born in Lady­smith, KwaZulu-Na­tal, caused a stir by de­thron­ing English­man Nigel Benn via a split points de­ci­sion at Telewest Arena in New­cas­tle, UK, to lift the WBC su­per mid­dleweight crown in 1996.

This made him South Africa’s first fighter to cap­ture the crown of the pres­ti­gious sanc­tion­ing body. He was sub­se­quently fol­lowed by Din­gaan “The Rose” Tho­bela, who lifted the same crown af­ter knock­ing out English­man Glenn Cat­ley in the 12th round at Car­ni­val City four years later.

Last Satur­day, The Rock en­thralled his fans by us­ing an ed­u­cated left jab and pow­er­ful hooks to take the stuff­ing out of the over­rated Muller for the bet­ter part of the con­test.

“I’m pleased to win the ABU ti­tle be­cause I be­lieve this will pave the way for me to be ranked by the WBC and, ul­ti­mately, chal­lenge for the cruis­er­weight crown,” said Mchunu.

“It will be great to be the sec­ond boxer from KwaZulu-Na­tal af­ter my idol Su­gar­boy to win a WBC ti­tle be­fore I call it a day.”

The WBC di­a­dem is cur­rently held by Marco Huck, and Mchunu en­ter­tains hopes of see­ing him­self ex­chang­ing blows against the Lat­vian in the near fu­ture.

Hav­ing beaten Muller, The Rock, who has com­piled a record of 18 wins – 11 by knock­out – and three de­feats from 21 pro­fes­sional fights, sees him­self firmly en­trenched as the ABU king­pin.

Mchunu, who was trained by his fa­ther while still cam­paign­ing in the am­a­teur ranks, is cur­rently guided by Shaun Smith in Jo­han­nes­burg.

He won the ABU belt for the first time in 2012 by out­point­ing Danie Ven­ter at Em­per­ors Palace. How­ever, he was stripped of the crown in 2013 for be­ing in­ac­tive.

Mchunu’s fa­ther, a war­rant of­fi­cer at Cam­per­down Po­lice Sta­tion in Cato Ridge, hailed his son for his tal­ent.

“He’s al­ways had a great left jab and it’s made him good in­side the ring. What I like about him is his deep love for box­ing. There is no doubt that he will win a big world ti­tle in fu­ture,” said Mchunu se­nior.

He said his son re­minded him of erst­while world wel­ter­weight king Per­nell “Sweet Pea” Whi­taker, who was one of the best south­paws in the division dur­ing his fight­ing days.

Smith said plans were in the pipe­line for The Rock to en­gage in the WBC in­ter­na­tional championship match soon.

“[Pro­moter] Rod­ney Ber­man is busy ar­rang­ing some­thing for him be­cause he needs to be kept busy,” said Smith.


AT­TACK Thabiso Mchunu catches Johnny Muller with a right body shot on the way to win­ning the ABU cruis­er­weight crown at Em­per­ors Palace last Satur­day

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