Rose wilting under strain

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Dingaan Thobela (82,86kg) looked very tired and weak at yesterday's pre-fight medical, while his opponent Soon Botes (82,34kg) looked fit and fresh.

Willie Lock, Botes' mentor, said Thobela "won't be ready to put up a fight" on Friday night.

"He can be within the limit on Thursday, but that does mean he is fit and ready for a fight," he said.

Both fighters must be within 79,38kg at the official weigh-in on Thursday. Their grudge fight is being staged by Branco Sports Production at Wembley Arena in Johannesburg.

Thobela ended Botes' reign as the national super middleweight king in February 2000. Lock is so hellbent on avenging that defeat that he has promised to accommodate Thobela even if he fails to make the required limit.

"He will be drained badly after Thursday. It will be a bonus for us. We were going to beat him anyway but it's gonna be a knockout for him now," he said.

Botes, 33, threatened to destroy "Oom Thobela's fat body" in four.

Thobela, who turned 40 last month, warned that the time for jokes had ended.

"It will be show time on Friday," said the "Rose of Soweto" .