Mabuza out to impress Tyson, but Sonsona no lamb

CHALLENGE: Silence Mabuza. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 8/3/01. © Sowetan.
CHALLENGE: Silence Mabuza. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 8/3/01. © Sowetan.

Bongani Magasela

Two-time IBO bantamweight champion Silence Mabuza will be aiming to stake his claim for universal recognition when he defends his title against tough Filipino Eden Sonsona on February 2 at Emperors Palace.

Golden Gloves will stage this fight. Publicist Terry Pettifer said Mabuza would headline their glittering fistic extravaganza that incorporates a 10-round heavyweight shootout between current SA titleholder Osborne "Big Daddy" Machimana and former two-time world champion Corrie "The Sniper" Sanders.

"Much to the spotlight will, of course, focus on the presence of former world heavyweight monarch Mike Tyson who will be doing television commentary of the bill," said Pettifer.

"That the embattled Tyson is one of the most spectacular, exciting and explosive personalities in the history of boxing cannot be denied, and the 30-year-old Mabuza aims to make the most of Tyson's attendance on the night.

"Tyson is a living legend. A blue-ribbon performance by Mabuza will go a long way to enhancing his popularity as a world-class performer."

Pettifer said his boss Rodney Berman said Tyson would add incredible value to the tournament because of his impact on the sport over the past 21 years.

"Tyson is being brought here not only for his own interpretations of the bill but also to assist us in our ongoing pledge to raise funds for a number of worthy charity organisations."

As for Mabuza's opponent, Berman was surprisingly frank.

"Mabuza has only ever lost to the immortal Rafael Marquez and we are supremely confident that he can unify the world bantamweight crown," he said. "His opponent, Eden Sonsona is presently ranked 16 by the IBO but having said that he is a young [at 19], worthy fighter capable of posting a mind-boggling upset.

"Fact is the tigerish young Sonsona has only lost one of his 12 professional bouts and although he's not noted for his instant devastation as a hitter, he's a wonderfully conditioned athlete who can sling punches for the entire twelve rounds. Take it from me, this kid will give Silence hell."