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THE limelight tonight should be on Cleutus Mbele and not on Patrick "The Hammer" Malinga, who will head Future Boxing Promotion's seven-bout programme at Nirvana Secondary School in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.
This is because Mbele, who was born in Maseru 21 years ago, is the future of South African boxing. Even his monicker "Buhlebuyeza", which, loosely translated, means emerging beauty. Malinga, 32, the national lightweight holder, has had his fair share of publicity but Mbele's consistency warrants an opportunity to head a bill.
Malinga's 10-rounder against Tanzanian Malik Kinyogoli is also an insignificant nontitle bout, while Mbele will take on Klaas Mboyane for the vacant Gauteng provincial bantamweight title.
But Mbele's handler Jabulani Malinga (Patrick's father) and promoters Reggie Hilman and Gavin Hope chose to go with Patrick, probably because Hilman and Hope have a contract with him.
Mbele, a nominee for Boxing SA's prospect of the year award in 2008, has a bright future. Jabulani has so much confidence in him that he once challenged Silence Mabuza and Simphiwe Vetyeka. At that time Mabuza held the IBO bantamweight strap, which he lost last year in the boardroom.
Malinga's fight will be televised live on Blow by Blow at 10pm .