Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Even if Osborne Machimana loses Saturday's fight with Joseph Chingangu in Zambia for the African Boxing Union (ABU) heavyweight title, it will not put a blemish on his achievement as the South African champion.

This is according to top boxing analyst Terry Pettifer, Golden Gloves' publicist.

"Machimana can rest assured that his three-year reign as the South African champion already compares with some of this country's most prolific heavyweight champions of the past," said Pettifer.

He held up the names of Gawie De Klerk (seven defences), Johnny Arthur (five), Gerrie De Bruyn (five) and Jimmy Richards (four defences).

"It may sound strange, but with four title defences under his belt, Osborne may yet defend the national title more times than most of his local heavyweight predecessors," said Pettifer.

Machimana, 29, won the title from Anton Nel way back in 2005, and has stopped Wiseman Dlomo, Jake Els, Pieter Cronje and Miyan Solomons. That makes him a credible national titleholder in terms of work ethic, said Pettifer.

"I'm not saying that Osborne will equal or better De Klerk's number of defences, simply because it looks like he's run out of local opposition, but then again you never know?"

Machimana will take a big step up by challenging Chingangu, who despite being 41 years old, still remain a dangerous opponent.

He turned professional in 1992 and failed to win the Commonwealth title from Julian Francis in 1997, as well as the World Boxing Association title from Wladimir Klitschko two years later.

Chingangu upset the bookies in 2001 when he flattened Hebbie Hide, a former World Boxing Organisation champion, in two rounds though he was stopped in one round by Hide in a rematch in 2003.

But "No Pressure" soldiered on and his perseverance paid dividends. He won the ABU belt on March when he flattened Isaac Paakwesi Ankra in five rounds.

The ABU (continental) title is the first step towards the World Boxing Council (WBC) title. It is followed by the WBC international title then the WBC title.

It is understood that Machimana, who is trained by esteemed mentor Nick Durandt, has set his sights on becoming the first black South African boxer ever to win a world heavyweight title. But for now "Maximus" is concentrating on proving he is the best heavyweight on the continent.