Mbilase, Vukuza rematch is finally on

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Common sense has prevailed, and Manelisi Mbilase and Thando Vukuza will fight - not in a gym for no pay, as they were earlier ordered, but at Orient Theatre in East London on July 24.

Mbilase and Vukuza will each be paid R30000 when Mbilase defends the SA featherweight belt.

Promoter S'Phatho Handi revealed that this rematch will be the main supporting bout to the WBF bantamweight title defence between holder Lubabalo Msuthu against an opponent still to be confirmed by the hierarchy of this Australia-based sanctioning body.

"Mbilase signed today [yesterday]," confirmed an elated Handi. "Vukuza signed a long time ago."

The announcement was made by Loyiso Mtya, director of operations for Boxing SA, who said Mamali Promotions has finally acquired the signature of the elusive champion.

They almost fought in the gym for nothing because Mbilase turned down numerous offers. Boxing SA ordered him to defend in a gym where fans would not have been allowed in.

"We are glad that level heads have prevailed. This fight will be contested under normal circumstances, inside a boxing arena where fans will be allowed in. Mbilase and Vukuza will also be paid for their efforts," Mtya said.

"It was not our best choice to order this fight to a gym where no fans would have been allowed. The last thing we want is boxers fighting for nothing."

The decision to take a national title fight to the gym was weird.

Mbilase won the belt under mysterious circumstances last October. That decision was diabolical.

Boxing SA appointed neutral judges to review the taped fight and score it. They all declared Vukuza the winner. Boxing SA then ordered a rematch.