funeka must Fight, kill or die

MEAN MOOD: IBF and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell. 29/01/09. © Unknown.
MEAN MOOD: IBF and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell. 29/01/09. © Unknown.

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

If words could kill, then Ali Funeka would be dead.

Nate Campbell, who will defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) lightweight belts against Funeka at the Bank Atlantic Centre in Florida on February 14, told Fightnews: "I'm going to hit this Funeka everywhere it's legal and maybe where it ain't if the referee turns his back.

"If he truly wants to win, he better be ready to fight, kill or die."

The champion was reacting to the challenger's alleged comments on the Internet.

"He said what he's going to do to me on Valentine's Day. He said he sees nothing special in me. He said he knows me like the back of his hand. That's rhetoric but he's going to pay for it. I'm going to beat him like he tried to steal something from me.

"There was no previous ill will between me and my South African opponent. This was a basic training camp for me until I heard his mouth. Now it's personal.

"He's got to pay the retail American price for his words, not the South African price."

Campbell, 36, defeated Juan Diaz for the IBF, WBO and the World Boxing Association (WBA) straps in March last year but vacated the WBA belt last month.

"There's no way I can fulfil my mandatory obligation to the WBA. So rather than pay sanction fees on it for the next few fights, knowing full well I won't be able to defend it without giving up my WBO belt, which I won't do, I decided to just go ahead and vacate the WBA title now," he said recently.

"Funeka deserves, and unfortunately for him, he will get my full and undivided attention."

On hearing these comments, Funeka said it was too late for Campbell to realise that their fight was personal.

"I set myself for war the day I was told that it is on," said Funeka, the former South African and WBC International undefeated champion.

Both fighters have tremendous punching power, with 25 knockouts each.

"The Galaxy Warrior", as Campbell from Tampa in Florida, is known, has 32 wins, only two more than the 27-year-old Mdantsane fighter who is affectionately known as "Rush Hour".

This fight will be presented by Don King Promotions in conjunction with One Punch Productions. It will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark at 10 pm.