pounding at palace

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Sensational Simphiwe "V12" Vetyeka intends to rock the arena in his first appearance at Emperors Palace, South Africa's version of the MGM Grand, tomorrow night.

He will bid bon voyage to the national bantamweight belt which he has defended eight times. He also wants to leave an impression on the owners of the Palace of Dreams, which has become a home for Golden Gloves fighters.

But the fighter from Eastern Cape, one of 19 champions from the productive stable of trainer Nick Durandt, fights under Branco Sports Productions.

Vetyeka will trade leather with Nkosinathi Tshinavhe. The challenger from Limpopo is not expected to pose a serious threat and Vetyeka should have no difficulty dealing with him.

"I will be a cat with nine lives," assured Vetyeka who, if successful, will equal the record of Simon "Tsipa" Skosana, who defended the national bantamweight belt nine times.

Vetyeka announced that he would be campaigning in the junior featherweight division.

"I cannot continue torturing myself to make the limit in the bantamweight division. It leaves me dry and powerless," said the champion, whose fighting prowess enabled him to win the belt in 2002. He has defend it successfully ever since.

"I could go straight into a world title fight in the junior featherweight division," hinted Vetyeka, who was outpointed by Hozumi Hasegawa for the World Boxing Council bantamweight strap in Japan in May last year.

That was Vetyeka's first defeat against 19 wins (11 Kos). Tshinavhe, who blows hot and cold, has nine wins (1 KO), three defeats and a draw.

Meanwhile, trainer Chris Denicker expects his charge, Ronnie "The Punisher" Lategan to make use of the opportunity of fighting for the national light heavyweight title against champ Daniel "Billy The Kid" Bruwer, also tomorrow night.

Lategan has been away for two years. He stopped Patrick Simelane in four rounds in his comeback fight in April.

"In my opinion he is in the best shape of his whole career, mentally and physically. Trust me, I don't think this fight will go 12 rounds," vowed Denicker.

The huge contribution by women to South Africa's freedom will be recognised with three four-round female professional bouts pitting Noni Tenge against Khensani Makama, Unathi Myekeni against Maria Sivhaga and Sandra Almeida against Queen Tshabalala.

They will form part of Durandt's yearly Prive Boxing Ball.