hot marali awaits kim

WARRIORS: SA's multiple champion Zolani Marali, left, will fight South Korean Ji Hoon Kim in a 12 rounder for the IBO junior
lightweight world title at Emperors Palace on Saturday evening in the
WARRIORS: SA's multiple champion Zolani Marali, left, will fight South Korean Ji Hoon Kim in a 12 rounder for the IBO junior lightweight world title at Emperors Palace on Saturday evening in the "Night of the Gladiators" boxing tournament. Pic: Yolanda Van Der Stoep. Circa. © Sowetan.

ZOLANI "The Untouchable" Marali warned yesterday that he will be as hot as an iron on Saturday night when he defends his IBO junior lightweight belt against South Korea's Ji Hoon Kim.

This, he says, is because boxing is his bread and butter, therefore anyone who wants to take his IBO belt from him must prepare himself for a bloody battle.

Marali, who is from Mdantsane, came face to face with Kim yesterday during the pre-fight medical for their championship fight at Emperors Palace.

"I have already seen him in two of his taped fights. There is nothing special about him. He is a fighter who uses power and he tends to turn a blind eye to what his opponent does, and that will put him in serious trouble with me," said Marali, who is one of the junior lightweight division's finest punchers in the country.

Marali's plan is to punish Kim so severely that British referee Phil Edwards will be forced to intervene. Isaac Tshabalala (Cape Town), Arthur Ellison (Germany) and Hilton Whittaker (US) will be the judges while IBO vice-president in Africa Len Hunt will be fight supervisor.

"This guy came at the wrong time. My focus is on the WBC route," said the 32-year-old southpaw, who is rated sixth by that sanctioning body.

Marali's manager, Brian Mitchell - arguably the best South African boxer of all time - said anything could happen in six months for his charge, whose fighting prowess is refined in Gauteng by Colin Nathan. The challenger from South Korea holds the Pan-Asian featherweight belt.

Their fight will top the Golden Gloves bill that has been dubbed "Night of Gladiators" by promoter Rodney Berman. Stars Thomas Oosthuizen, Grant Fourie and Jason Bederman will be in action in other fights.

Oosthuizen will take on Brazilian Cleber Alves for the IBO super middleweight youth belt while Fourie and Bederman will fight for the vacant IBO African lightweight strap.

These fighters were given a clean bill of health by Peter Chadderton yesterday.

The fights will be televised live on SuperSport from 8pm.

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