Machimana, Sanders will sweat

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Osborne Machimana and Corrie Sanders should be focusing on their crunch fight at Emperors Palace on February 2 while most fighters have packed away their gym togs for a well-earned break over the festive season.

Golden Gloves Promotions publicist Terry Pettifer, whose company will promote this shootout, said Machimana will defend the South African heavyweight title but that this eagerly awaited encounter is rumoured to have been reduced to 10 rounds.

When Sowetan contacted Loyiso Mtya for clarity, Boxing SA's (BSA) director of operations explained that it was not for them (BSA) to decide the number of rounds for any fight.

"In this case Golden Gloves must negotiate with the two camps and once they agree on anything then they will apply with us. For now nothing has come forth," said Mtya.

But he made it clear that Sanders, who falls under the category of international campaigner, qualifies for the national title fight by virtue of having won his last international fight.

Sanders, the former WBU and WBO title holder, outpointed Brazilian Daniel Bispo over 10 rounds in May.

Promoter Rodney Berman has been astounded at the level of interest shown in the fight, especially since it could very well prove to be a crossroads for both "Big Daddy" and "The Sniper".

" Let's face facts, if Sanders, [who is] 42, loses, he might as well retire because age is clearly not on his side and no one would like to see him take unnecessary punishment at this stage of his life," said Berman.

"But make no mistake, a loss for Osborne, [who is] 28, could also decimate his hopes of making good on the world scene.

"Machimana has of late displayed fine form and more than a few tipsters feel that he could rumble over the ageing Sanders.

"If Osborne manages to whip Sanders we'll know that Big Daddy is for real and we will market him in the US."