The hits keep coming for BSP

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The internationally acclaimed Branco Sports Productions (BSP) of top promoter Branco Milenkovic has pitted local fighters against the best in the world in the past three years.

It started in 2005 when Mzonke Fana fought Marco Antonio Barrera for the World Boxing Council (WBC) junior lightweight belt, followed by the WBC junior bantamweight mandatory championship between Jorge Arce and Hawk Makepula in 2006.

Most recently Vus'Umuzi Malinga won the right to challenge WBC bantamweight king Hozumi Hasegawa after defeating Veerapol Nakhonluang in a WBC mandatory eliminator.

This Saturday night Ali "Rush Hour" Funeka will oppose Zahir "Z-Man" Raheem, the biggest American name to visit South Africa after Lennox Lewis, for the right to challenge Don King's IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell.

This fight will top Milenkovic's tournament at Jan Smuts Stadium in East London. The entrance fee is R100.

Born on November 7 1976 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Raheem, a member of the 1996 Olympic team, turned professional on November 15 2006. Raheem surprised everyone when he outboxed Erik Morales on September 10 2005.

"I was going to Marquette, Michigan. I was in school up there in college in Northern Michigan University on a boxing scholarship. I went there about four years.

"I went to the Olympics. I didn't finish college, I left when I was offered a contract after the Olympics. Now it's a job, it's a business now," said Raheem who arrived in South Africa last week.

His strengths are good skills, speed, and mobility, and his experience against good opposition. His professional record 29 wins (17 KOs) two losses and a no contest.

His two losses were against Acelino Freitas and Rocky Juarez.

The average length of his bouts is 5,6 rounds.