japhta pride of westbury

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Westbury is a step closer to having its own national champion in Avusa employee Marcel "Lights Out" Japhta, who is highly rated.

The Johannesburg neighbourhood, which was notorious for gangsterism, is pinning its hopes on this twinkling star.

Victory against Willie Mabasa on Saturday night at Westbury Recreation Centre will confirm Japhta as the mandatory challenger for national honours.

Mabasa from Limpopo, whose skills are honed in Gauteng by Michele Castelan, the man who trains Philip Ndou, needs this one badly because defeat will send him straight to the scrap heap.

Their fight is schedule for 10 rounds. It will be presented by People Promotions in conjunction with Westside Boxing Academy.

The tough-as-nails Japhta has shown promise by winning the featherweight title in the 2006 Baby Champs, a year after he had turned professional .

He outperformed awkward veteran Edward "Spoiler" Mpofu over 10 rounds last February for the Gauteng provincial belt and is rated number one in the national rankings.

Japhta, who has nine wins, seven by knockout, a draw and one loss, has what it takes to emulate his homeboys, Cameron "Kangaroo" Adams and Earl Morais.

Adams was one of the many talented fighters from Westbury who did not realise their fullest potential.

He could only win the Transvaal provincial middleweight title, while Morais won the SA and WBA Pan cruiserweight belts in 2000 and 2001. His reign as the national ruler ended in 2004 against Baldwin Tshiakale.

Morais's demise was masterminded by unfancied trainers Benny Pailman, Peter Faver and Cliff Martins. These three musketeers will shout instructions to Japhta on Saturday night.

They will also be in charge when Nkululeko "Bull Dog" Mhlongo takes on Johannes Petersen in a catchweight fight over six rounds.

Meanwhile, Pius "Mr Hercules" Dipheko will fight Thabo "The Rattlesnake" Mashishi in a welterweight four rounder.

Hugo Manqina will fight Lucky Sambo and Shadrack Molekwa will take on Mudau Shumani.

There will be two more bouts.Action is scheduled to starts at 7pm