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Ndongeni pressured to polish his performance

By Bongani Magasela | 2017-06-14 07:34:38.0

Xolisani "Nomeva" Ndongeni should bear in mind that a top-drawer performance in his second appearance at Emperors Palace is paramount.

The former IBO undefeated holder did not look bad in his close-points win against Mzonke Fana in 2015. It was his first fight under new management and also his debut in the imposing Palace of Dreams.

But it was also not the performance that was expected from the dazzling fighter Ndongeni is known to be in East London.

Ndongeni, from Duncan Village, will face tough-as-nails Patrick "The Hammer" Malinga over 10 rounds on July 23.

It will be a grudge match. Ndongeni outpointed Malinga from Ekurhuleni over 12 rounds for the IBO International lightweight belt in East London in 2014.

The pressure of fighting at Emperors Palace is like a football club of stars all fighting to be in the starting line-up. Co-promoters Rodney Berman and Jeff Ellis prefer doing box-and-dines; the concept which introduces a new fan in boxing.

So, a boxer who is featured in those line-ups has to impress fans who bought tables.

It is even worse with Ndongeni because he is from East London. "The environment got to me. But I now know the pressure that comes with fighting at Emperors Palace," admitted Ndongeni.

He described Malinga as his toughest opponent to date.

"But I will beat him up again," he vowed.

Malinga always comes fully prepared to die inside the ring but at 39, the former SA lightweight champion is fighting against time.

Malinga boasts 27 KOs in 30 wins against 10 losses and three draws, while Ndongeni is undefeated after 22 fights.