Another Ali lights up Africa

LOVED: Laila Ali gets a hug from a pupil at Thabo High school in Naledi on her tour of Soweto earlier this week. Pic. Tsheko Kabasia. © Sunday World.
LOVED: Laila Ali gets a hug from a pupil at Thabo High school in Naledi on her tour of Soweto earlier this week. Pic. Tsheko Kabasia. © Sunday World.

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The international spotlight has been on South Africa since Laila Ali's arrival earlier this week.

Her fight against Gwendolyn O'Neil will be staged by Golden Gloves at Emperors Palace on February 3.

It should rekindle memories of the "Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa in 1974 between Laila's father, Muhammad, and George Foreman.

That fight, the first major boxing event in Africa, was staged by American Don King at the Stade du 20 Mai in the then Zaire.

Ali stopped Foreman in eight rounds in a fight that still lingers in people's minds. Now, almost 33 years after his demolition of Foreman, Ali's daughter returns to Africa to rewrite boxing history.

Not only will "She Bee Stinging" and the "Stealth Bomber" head a tournament, but their fight will be the first ever women's bout to be staged in South Africa.

This will be promoter Rodney Berman's second biggest international boxing tournament.

He staged "Thunder in Africa" between Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman in Brakpan on April 22 2001. Rahman ended Lewis' reign as the WBC and IBF heavyweight champion with a fifth-round knockout.

Ali will defend her WBC and Wiba super middleweight belts.

O'Neil, the WIBC light heavyweight champ, will arrive tomorrow.

Cassius Baloyi will attempt to win back his IBO belt in the main undercard. He will collide with Nazareno Ruiz.

Baloyi lost the title to Gairy St Clair, who was stripped of it after he was dethroned of his IBF crown by Malcolm Klassen last year. Tickets are cost R375, R500 and R750.

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