Boxing back to Eldorado

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The famous Don Mateman Hall in Eldorado Park, Johannesburg, which has become a white elephant regarding boxing, will be a beehive of action as main stream boxing returns there on July 11.

Local promoters Reggie Hilmer and Gavin Hope of Future Boxing Promotion (FBP) will stage a national junior heavyweight title there between Thabiso "Little Tyson" Mchunu and Sean Santana.

The champion comes from KwaZulu-Natal while the challenger, a Portuguese fighter, is from Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg.

This will be Mchunu's first defence of the belt he won in February from FBP's tournament in Finetown, Grasmere, near Lenasia, when he stopped Patrick Madzinga in the 10th round.

Ironically, Madzinga stopped Santana in the first round in May last year but Santana produced an upset last month when he stopped vastly experienced former SA, WBU and IBO champion, Sebastiann Rothmann in five rounds.

FBP's previous fights at the venue that might still linger in boxing peoples minds include an epic battle between that area's idol Quinton Ryan and Mpisekhaya Mbaduli as well as a clash between Derrick Whiteboy and Victor Sonaba.

"Hopefully memories of those fights and many more others will encourage the new generation and senior citizens to come in big numbers on July 11," said Hilmer, who intends to revive that famed boxing venue which he once used to revive Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala's flagging career.

The latter lost the national belt to Mveleli Luzipho on October 14 1983 and nobody wanted anything to do with him after that until Hilmer rescued him with a 10-rounder against Ramon Solis on March 23 1990.

Matlala outpointed the Mexican over 10 rounds and that victory revived his career. Seven months later Matlala reclaimed the national belt but from Wele Maqolo.

"We are the future of boxing and we will continue living by our name although we hardly get recognition for our hard work in this dog-eat-dog sport," said Hilmer who bounced back with Hope last year.

They allowed about 100 school kids free entry in their tournament in February when they could have used those seats to make money.

School children will still pay nothing while their parents will part with a mere R30 for this tournament.

The fight will be broadcast live on Blow by Blow at 9.30pm.

Meanwhile, Owen Mackay and Clement Somers, both from Eldorado Park, will fight Michael Maseko and Sam Sithole, respectively.

Action kicks off at 7.30pm.