HARDLY a month after he threw away the IBO junior lightweight belt against Ji Hoon Kim, Zolani Marali's career has been thrown a lifeline.
Marali checked out in the 10th round, when a right from the Korean shook his eardrum, and he could only nod when English referee Phil Edwards asked if he had had enough.
The "Untouchable" will oppose Mlungisi "The Shark" Dlamini for the vacant IBO lightweight title on October 31. This fight will be presented by Golden Gloves Promotions (GGP) at Emperors Palace, and GGP spokesperson Terry Pettifer feels this is the last-chance saloon for Marali.
"While everyone encounters what is termed a last-chance saloon, this adage applies to those who require a final opportunity at making good," said Pettifer.
"The portents could well be the same for former four-times world champion Marali."
Mdantsane-born Marali, whose enormous skills are honed in Gauteng by Colin Nathan, is moving up a weight.
Pettifer revealed yesterday that the 32-year-old had been battling with his weight prior to his last fight. But he could regret making his debut in that weight division against a formidable fighter like Dlamini.
This charismatic fighter from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal is yet to taste defeat after 20 fights. Dlamini, 27, the WBF champion, boasts four defences of the WBF belt.
Marali has three defeats, two by knockout, against 20 wins.
Meanwhile, Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen will attempt to make history by winning a third title this year. "Tommy Gun", who won the IBO International light heavyweight and the organisation's super middleweight youth titles this year, will challenge Tshepang Mohale for the SA light heavyweight belt.
Also on promoter Rodney Berman's card is Isaac Chilemba, the WBO Africa light heavyweight title holder, who is bidding for the vacant WBC International belt against Congolese fighter Doudou Ngumbu.