a meeting of heavyweights

ALL SMILES: Peermont chief corporate affairs executive Vusi Zwane. © Unknown.
ALL SMILES: Peermont chief corporate affairs executive Vusi Zwane. © Unknown.

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

It will be a case of one great fighter welcoming another when Jacob Zuma delivers the keynote address at the charity banquet in honour of "Iron" Mike Tyson at Emperors Palace on January 30.

Vusi Zwane, who is the group chief corporate affairs executive of Peermont, which owns Emperors Palace and other hotels, casinos and resorts, announced yesterday that the newly elected president of the A N C accepted their invitation to speak at the event.

Zuma, who was voted in as ANC president in Polokwane on December 18, is likely to become the next president of South Africa when the country goes to the polls in 2009.

Zwane said "Msholozi", the clan name for Zuma, will welcome the retired former undisputed heavyweight world champion, who captured the imagination of the public, attracted huge attendance at his fights and millions of viewers around the world.

The gala dinner that is expected to attract bigwigs in politics, sport and the private sector will be used to raise funds for Sithabile Child and Youth Care Centre, as well as Girls and Boys Town.

These two charities, which are situated in Ekurhuleni and central Gauteng, take care of underprivileged children and offer them a refuge.

Tyson, born on June 30 in 1966, became the youngest man to win the heavyweight title and is considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. He will sign memorabilia that will be auctioned on the night of the dinner.

Proceeds will go to the two charities. Tickets for the banquet are on sale at R750 a person or R7500 a table, and can be bought through Jeff Ellis (078-457-3030).

Tyson will whet appetites in the lead-up to the "Fire and Brimstone" boxing bonanza that will take place at Emperors Palace on February 2.

This tournament, which features top fighters such as Silence Mabuza, Osborne Machimana and Takalani Ndlovu, as well as rising stars Hekkie Budler, Grant Fourie and Warren Joubert, will be promoted by Rodney Berman's Golden Gloves.