Mchunu, Muller square up in ABU elim­i­na­tor

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

BOXING FANS are in for some ab­sorb­ing ac­tion at Em­per­ors Palace on Satur­day when Golden Gloves presents an African Boxing Union cruis­er­weight clash fea­tur­ing Thabiso Mchunu, pic­tured, and Johnny Muller.

This fight, on a bill which has been ti­tled ‘Hurtin’ for Cer­tain’ is tra­di­tion­ally a step­ping stone to a WBC rat­ing.

Mchunu has fought world cham­pi­onships and ti­tle elim­i­na­tors and he’s tak­ing this match-up against Muller just as se­ri­ously, espe­cially as he needs to work his way back into ma­jor con­tention.

“The truth is there isn’t enough to go around in SA boxing,” said trainer Sean Smith. “This is a cross­roads fight for both box­ers. There’s no room to lose.”

Mchunu wrapped up spar­ring on Fri­day and was breath­ing eas­ily af­ter 10 rounds, sat­is­fy­ing Smith that his fighter had worked hard in the past eight weeks.

“Johnny will try and get him tired, but he’ll make mis­takes along the way. Thabiso is su­per-ac­cu­rate and he’ll pounce. I’m ex­cited to see some changes he’ll bring . . . he’s ready for a good fight. Johnny al­ways comes to fight; we’ll take him into the deep end,” Smith promised.

He agrees that Mchunu’s losses in his ma­jor fights – to Ju­nior Mak­abu and Olek­sandr Usyk – stalled his ti­tle am­bi­tions, but says he still has enough in the tank to be­come a con­tender again.

“A loss on the world stage isn’t nec­es­sar­ily detri­men­tal. los­ing at do­mes­tic level, which is why win­ning is so im­por­tant on Satur­day.

“Thabiso is good enough. He’s in the right head space and has good en­ergy. He’s ready for busi­ness and knows that a win will open doors.”

Mchunu’s last fight was in De­cem­ber when he was stopped by Usyk in a chal­lenge for the WBO belt in Cal­i­for­nia, USA. Muller, mean­while, is com­ing off a stop­page win of Her­man Pot­gi­eter.

– ANA

You can re-estab­lish your­self. But you don’t want to be

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