Simba tipped to roar loudest in the local heavyweight division

RETIRED two-time World champion and International Hall of Fame inductee Brian Mitchell has predicted that Flo Simba will be the greatest heavyweight champion ever in South Africa.

RETIRED two-time World champion and International Hall of Fame inductee Brian Mitchell has predicted that Flo Simba will be the greatest heavyweight champion ever in South Africa.

But Simba, 20, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has lived here for 19 years, is still wet behind the ears.

This country had great heavyweight fighters like Gerrie Coetzee, Piere Coetzer, Jimmy Abbot, Robbie Williams, Johnny du Plooy, Bennie and Kalie Knoetze, Howard Mpepesi, James Mathatho, Fraser Memela and Siza Makhathini to mention just a few.

Others, like Coetzee and Corrie Sanders, became world champions while some only won provincial, international and national titles.

Current champion Osborne Machimana has not fought since November 18 last year because there are no challengers.

Boxing analyst Terry Pettifer said he found it "highly illuminating" to hear Mitchell's proclamation.

"Mitchell is not known for his flattery. And as a renowned former international boxer he has certainly seen enough fighters to know the difference between an average pugilist and a glittering find," Pettifer said.

Simba turned 20 on October 31, the day he made his professional debut. In that fight, Simba, guided to war by veteran trainer Harold Volbrecht, blasted Bernard Vance in the first round. Simba did the same to Thato Tholano last month.

Simba is managed by Mitchell and fights under the banner of Golden Gloves.

Mitchell said: "Simba had half-a-dozen amateur bouts before turning professional. His rate of growth both in stature and physical proportion has been astounding.

"Eighteen months ago, he was looking at becoming a basketball player.

"Then he wandered into Aubrey Lovett's amateur boxing gymnasium - and his life took a 180-degree turn.

"In my book, this kid has all the necessary attributes to go right to the top."

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