Mashaba now a road warrior

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Thomas "Merciless" Mashaba is becoming a road warrior like Brian Mitchell.

The latter's sojourns around the country in his rise to the top built his support base before he won the WBA title from Alfredo Layne in Mmabatho in 1986.

Promoters Thinus Strydom and Francois Botha, who operate under the banner of World Sports Promotions, are doing exactly that with Mashaba.

Their endeavour will make the IBO featherweight champion, a locomotive train driver at the Driefontein mine in Carletonville, a recognisable pugilist.

The Nelspruit-born champion has fought in Soweto, Eldorado Park, Hammanskraal, Thohoyandou, Sebokeng, Secunda, Witbank, Vanderbijl Park, East London and Bangkok.

He will be in Kimberley on December 15 to defend against Oscar Leon. The dangerous southpaw Columbian has fought top fighters such as John Michael Johnson, Derrick Gainer and Chris John.

Leon's knockout ratio of 18 from 27 wins, against five losses, suggests that he packs a meaner punch than Mashaba, who has only 10 KOs from 18 victories, against two losses and four draws.

Siphiwo Nongqayi and Khulile Makeba will contest the vacant WBF junior bantamweight title in the main supporting bout. Mlungisi Dlamini and Nigerian Emeka Kodo will meet over eight rounds in the lightweight division.