The great black hope

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

South African heavyweight champion Osborne "Big Daddy" Machimana could become this country's first black heavyweight hope.

"Isn't it ironic?" quipped Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman.

Bergma will stage Machimana's 10-rounder with former WBU and WBO champion Corrie "The Sniper" Sanders at Emperors Palace on February 2.

Berman admits that while past fighters like Jacob Mofokeng and Hezekiel Dlamini briefly captured the eye in this country, neither of the two realised his true potential.

"Dlamini was a tragic figure whose career petered out before it really began and Mofokeng, after capturing the WBU cruiserweight and SA heavyweight titles, had to retire due to illness."

So what of Machimana?

"The guy is something of an enigma," Berman said.

"Whereas his career hasn't exactly sizzled, there are undeniable signs that he's now matured into a really fine heavyweight with loads of power.

"Indeed, at 29, Machimana has 14 wins and five losses, which hardly compares to Sanders' incredible track mark that saw him defeat some of the biggest names in world heavyweight boxing.

"But it remains to be seen if Sanders, at 42, can withstand the hammer blows of a young and motivated Machimana, who is a reborn fighter since teaming up with ace mentor Nick Durandt," added Berman.

Berman has promoted boxing since August 1977 and he says his greatest ambitions is to produce a local black world heavyweight champion.

"If Machimana whips Sanders we'll know he's for real."