cross rhodes

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Vincent Vuma, trainer Nick Durandt, promoter Branco Milenkovic and IBF champion Cassius Baloyi jetted off to the UK yesterday where Vuma will defend the WBC International junior middleweight belt against Ryan Rhodes on Saturday.

"The Rock" won that belt in the UK in July last year, stopping Briton Mark Thompson in the eighth round at Robin Park Centre in Wigan, Lancashire.

His second defence will take place at O2 Arena (Millennium Dome), Greenwich. Baloyi will be there to lend moral support to his homeboy from Limpopo.

Rhodes, 31, from Yorkshire, should pose a serious threat to Vuma if judged solely on his experience. He has featured in 44 fights with only four defeats and boasts 27 short-route wins.

But the left-handed challenger only boasts five clean knockouts, and has not won a single credible piece of silverware. He is the current British champion.

He and Vuma are yet to earn a top 15 rating in the WBC.

If Vuma loses he may have to give up on his international aspirations and focus on his SA belt.

Vuma, 32, has what it takes to become a greater fighter, but he has to be triggered first before he gets into gear.

His fight record reads 26 wins (15 KOs) and two defeats.

Vuma turned professional in 1999 but his talent was recognised only in 2005 when he outperformed the gifted William Gare for the national belt he has defended four times.