road to riches

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Zolani Marali, who is the best-kept secret in the junior lightweight division, is a step away from fame and fortune.

In fact "The Untouchable", a former SA, IBO and WBF super bantamweight and super featherweight holder, is not the only fighter from the stable of Colin Nathan who is closer to striking it rich.

But Hekkie Budler and Jarred Lovett are also on the same road to riches - courtesy of promoter Rodney Berman who revealed yesterday that his Golden Gloves promotion is paving a golden road for these fighters.

But he said the first step begins at Emperors Palace where Marali, Budler and Lovett will be in action.

Marali, who was stripped of the WBF junior lightweight belt a few days before Christmas for not honouring an order to defend, will top this Gree Air-bankrolled six-bout bill.

Marali, 31, a south paw (left hander) with an albatross-like wingspan, will oppose Fahsai Sakkreerin from Thailand for the vacant IBO junior lightweight belt. Nothing much is known about Sakkreerin, but he has proved to be consistent.

Sakkreerin, the IBF Pan Pacific featherweight champion, has chalked up 17 straight wins, nine by short route, since his only defeat in 2005.

In total "Makordae" has 24 victories (10 KOs).

Berman insists Marali's future is in the US.

Meanwhile, Budler has a tough test against Charrit Mukondeleli. Berman expects "Hexecutioner", a whirlwind performer, to walk past Mukondeleli who is an experienced, honest fighter with seven wins, one by knockout, against six defeats.

Budler's next fight on June 13 will be for the vacant IBO title, said Berman who added that Simphiwe "V12" Vetyeka will challenge for the vacant IBO bantamweight belt in another fight, provided all parties involved in channeling his career agree on terms.

Lovett, the prospect of 2008 award winner, will fight Anon Donprat also from Thailand in a catchweight bout over eight rounds.

Meanwhile, Jackson Chauke, the only local amateur representative in the Beijing Olympics, will fight Peter Philane in the flyweight class over four rounds while Octavius Mbira and Sibusiso Khumalo will meet in the junior lightweight division.

Jake Els and Thamsanqa Dube from Zimbabwe will contest the WBA Pan African heavyweight belt.

"The future looks really bright for most of our fighters", said Berman.