marali to fight diaz

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Gamaliel "El Platano" Diaz will oppose Zolani "Untouchable" Marali for the vacant IBO junior lightweight title at Emperors Palace on April 2.

Marali is trained by Colin Nathan with Brian Mitchell managing the career of this skinny Mdantsane fighter.

Marali was to have fought Fahsai Sakkreenin last weekend but the Thai's poor health ruled him out. He suffers from hepatitis B.

Promoter Rodney Berman postponed the entire tournament, a six-bout programme, while still searching for a replacement.

He announced that Diaz, 28, an orthodox (right-handed) fighter was the man to fight Marali in the main contest of the bill.

Diaz is a former WBC FECARBOX (a continental title) and North America Boxing Federation (NABF) featherweight champion. He turned professional in 1998 and has won 23 fights (10 KOs), lost eight times and fought two draws.

Diaz was stopped in eight rounds by Jorge Linares in December 2007 for the WBC featherweight title. He also lost to Humberto Soto for the interim WBC junior lightweight title in October last year.

Berman said it was all systems go for both Hekkie "Hexecutioner" Budler and Jake Els, who will fight for vacant international belts in two main supporting fights.

Budler takes on Charrit "Maanda" Mukondeleli for the IBO All-Africa junior flyweight belt while Els fights Zimbabwean Thamsanqa Dube for the WBA Pan African heavyweight strap.

Jared "The Storm" Lovett will fight Fernando Vera in an international non-title eight rounder. Argentinian Vera, 37, nicknamed "Batman" is a journeyman with 11 wins (eight KOs) against 16 defeats.

He was stopped seven times while he shared the spoils with Daniel Bruwer in one of his two draws.

Vera last registered a win in 2006 and has lost five consecutive bouts.

Octavia Mbira will fight Sibusiso Khumalo and Jackson Chauke will fight Peter Phelane in two four rounders.