clash OF THE GLADIATORS

WIDE OPEN: Zolani Marali delivers a deadly left hook to Gamali Diaz's jaw during their
IBO junior lightweight bout in Johannesburg recently. Marali will defend his title against Ji Hoon Kim on September 12. Pic: ANTONIO MUCHAVE. 03/04/2009. © Sowetan
WIDE OPEN: Zolani Marali delivers a deadly left hook to Gamali Diaz's jaw during their IBO junior lightweight bout in Johannesburg recently. Marali will defend his title against Ji Hoon Kim on September 12. Pic: ANTONIO MUCHAVE. 03/04/2009. © Sowetan

BOXING promoter Rodney Berman says it is not surprising that 300 tickets have already been sold two weeks before his Golden Gloves stages its "Night of the Gladiators" on September 12.

BOXING promoter Rodney Berman says it is not surprising that 300 tickets have already been sold two weeks before his Golden Gloves stages its "Night of the Gladiators" on September 12.

They sell at R175 (reserved) and R100 (unreserved).

"Indications are that the Mecca of SA Boxing (Emperors Palace) could attract a full house. It's a star-studded line-up," he said yesterday.

Topping the bill is Zolani "Untouchable" Marali, who will defend the IBO junior lightweight belt against South Korea's Ji Hoon Kim.

"The last Korean puncher to have visited these shores was a chunkily built bantamweight, Soo Hwan Hong, who lifted Arnold Taylor's WBA world bantamweight title back in the seventies," Berman said.

The main supporting bout pits Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen against Brazilian Cleber Alves for the IBO super middleweight youth title. Then there is the alluring fight for the IBO Africa lightweight belt between Grant "Fireball" Fourie and Jason "Badman" Bederman.

"That both Fourie and Bederman are unbeaten in 10 and 11 bouts, respectively, has enhanced the interest in this bout, which promises to be a fever-pitched battle between two of the country's most talented fighters."

Ronnie Lategan and Ruben Groenewald will fight in the cruiserweight division in a non-title contest.

Meanwhile, Boxing SA's acting CEO Loyiso Mtya has warned Golden Gloves about Marali's razzmatazz, which involves bringing a lot of people into the dressing room during his ring entry as well as right into the ring.

"We believe he takes it too far. Not only is this a security nightmare, it also interferes with the preparation of all the other people involved and tasked with separate duties in the event. We ask Golden Gloves to make sure that only Marali, his corner and a few relevant people be allowed for the ring walk and in the ring," Mtya said.

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