Caballero upset on cards

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Local fighters have produced upsets outside South Africa many times, when not given the slightest of chances.

Thulani "Surgarboy" Malinga outclassed Nigel Benn over 12 rounds in the UK for the WBC super middleweight belt in 1996. Zolani Petelo stopped Ratanapol Sor Vorapin in five rounds for the IBF mini flyweight belt in Thailand the following year while Corrie Sanders pulverised Wladimir Klitscko in just two rounds for the WBO heavyweight title in Germany in 2003.

This Friday morning, Jeffrey Mathebula challenges Celestino Caballero for both the IBF and WBA junior featherweight belts at the Roberto Duran Stadium in Panama, and trainer Nick Durandt said they will surprise South Africans again.

"And the new IBF and WBA junior featherweight champion, Jeffrey Mathebula," screamed Durandt on Sunday night via a call from Panama.

Caballero , from Colón in Panama, is tipped to defend his belt. He easily dispatched Steve Molitor in five rounds for the IBF belt last November.

But Caballero's camp does not know Mathebula well, and the champion has weight problems, said Durandt who disclosed that Caballero was 5kg over the limit during the pre-fight medical.

"It's easy to lose weight here because its very hot, so this says that Caballero has weight problems," said Durandt.

Mathebula, a former WBC International undefeated featherweight champion, won the right to challenge the Panamanian last August after outpointing highly rated Julio Zarate in a title eliminator.