rush hour hell awaits raheem

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Ali "Rush Hour" Funeka will reign supreme on Saturday night against Zahir "Z-man" Raheem and put himself in line to challenge Nate Campbell for the IBF lightweight belt.

This assurance was issued yesterday by Mzimase Mnguni who didn't seem too worried about the American who caused a stir back home on September 10 2005 when he defeated feared Mexican Erik Morales.

Morales took that fight as a warm-up for his clash with Manuel Pacquiao, who stopped him in the 10th round on January 1 2006.

"We have put all our experience together. Ali is in tip-top condition," said Mnguni. "This is the fight of his life."

The fight will top the programme of Branco Sports Productions whose owner Branco Milenkovic will co-promote with the Eastern Cape sports department at Jan Smuts Stadium in East London.

Funeka and Raheem have 29 wins, but Funeka has scored 24 knockouts, compared to Raheem's 17.

But the American is rated fourth, a spot above the Mdantsane fighter, in the IBF rankings.

Funeka has a single defeat which he suffered in 2002 against Mzonke Fana, while Raheem has two defeats.

Funeka, who is under the mentorship of Dudu Bungu, the younger brother of Vuyani Bungu, at Mnguni's famous Eyethu Boxing Club in Mdantsane, holds the WBC International belt.

He defended it last September via a fourth-round stoppage of JR Sollano.

Funeka has not seen action since that superb win.

Raheem has nothing to back his beautiful skills. He failed to win the WBO belt against Acelino Freitas in 2006 but bounced back and stopped Ricardo Dominguez in one round in his last fight in January.

Meanwhile, Moruti "Baby Face" Mthalane will appear in the main supporting contest against Australian Hussen "Hussy" Hussein for the right to challenge for the IBF flyweight belt that is held by Filipino Nonito Donaire

Mthalane occupies the sixth spot while Hussein is ranked 14.

The KwaZulu-Natal fighter, the SA and WBC International champion whose skills are honed in Gauteng by Nick Durandt, has fashioned 21 wins (15 KOs), a loss and a draw.

Hussein, from Sydney, boasts 31 victories (24 KOs) and four defeats.

Admission fee to Milenkovic's historical event, the first ever dual IBF eliminator on the continent, is R100.