MICKEY Schultz is hurting inside.
His facial expression was deceiving when he came face to face with his Zimbabwean foe Tineyi Maridzo on Friday.
But Schultz's eyes reflected his venomous thoughts when he stared at the man who knocked him cold in the first round of their fight on November 20.
The two meet in a "Rematch", as the fight has been dubbed, at Wembley Arena, south of Johannesburg, on Thursday night.
Maridzo's devastating overarm right behind the ear sent Schultz crumpling to the canvass in one minute and 26 seconds.
Miraculously Schultz beat the count but was still groggy. His trainer, Nick Durandt, duly threw in the towel. Schultz had barely thrown a punch before he was sent to the canvass.
Maridzo, who boasted an unimpressive fight record of three wins and six loses before fighting Schultz, was crowned WBO Africa super middleweight champion.
Schultz, who retired undefeated with 14 fights in 1998 tasted his first defeat.
He had not kissed the canvass since he made his professional debut in 1995.
Schultz brushed aside his first-round knockout defeat by Maridzo with a third-round stoppage of Goodman Dywili on March 26. Durandt and Schultz filed for a rematch and Andrew Smale, who represents the WBO in Africa, gave them his blessings.
"Its personal this time," said Schultz as he ground his teeth.
Maridzo seemed unperturbed, though.
"I am here to defend my title," warned "Marstak Power" from Harare.
Tickets for this blackout tournament are available at Durandt's gym in Norwood at R150 and R100.