Malinga promises big bang in Thailand

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Vus'Umuzi Malinga, World Boxing Council (WBC) International bantamweight champion, trainer Jabulani Malinga and assistant trainer Thulani Nsimbi will jet out to Thailand on Friday afternoon.

They are off to war.

Malinga, who fights out of the southpaw, left-hand stance, will take on Veeraphol Nakhonluang in Bangkok on June 12.

Their fight is for the right to challenge WBC champion Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan.

Malinga, whose impressive skills are honed by his father at the JD Boxing gym in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni is rated second by the WBC while Nakhonluang occupies the number one spot.

"Marvelous" Malinga, whose idol is former WBC, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association middleweight undisputed champion Marvin "Marvelous" Hagler, is also rated seven by the IBF and 13 by the World Boxing Organisation (WBO).

Nakhonluang, 39, is a vastly experienced campaigner.

In fact Nakhonluang, a three-time WBC champion, lost the belt to Hasegawa in 2005 and failed to regain it from the Japanese, being stopped in nine rounds a year later.

So victory for Malinga, 26, against this veteran of 57 wins, three defeats and a draw, will definitely signal his readiness to end the reign of Hasegawa, who has been in command for almost four years.

Jabulani, a former professional fighter under veteran mentor Norman Hlabane, said if Vus'Umuzi, who has chalked up 17 wins and a draw in 20 fights to date, is not ready now, he never will be.

"He has been training twice a day, morning and afternoon and I can assure you that all the hard work and sacrifices he made will pay off. He will triumph," said Jabulani yesterday.

"We know that we are up against a veteran who has been around for years.

"His record speaks volumes about his capability and we respect him but that does necessarily give him the edge over Vusi.

"They both want to fight for the WBC title. So I expect a bloody massacre.

" Vusi is not even worried that he will fight in that guy's backyard, and that is how prepared mentally Vusi is.

"He is going to give his all, that I can tell you. There will be no excuses."

This fight was originally set for February but it was later moved to March. Again it was postponed until June because Nakhonluang injured his wrist in training.