Sibiya upbeat ahead of Tanzania bout
Top boxing trainer Bernie Pailman says he would not have turned down the offer for his charge, Koos Sibiya, to challenge Phila Mpontshana if he did not fancy Sibiya's chances of winning the Global Boxing Council (GBC) belt on Friday.
Sibiya, 36, is rated No 1 in the SA junior lightweight division where Mpontshana is the champion after a stunning 11th-round knockout of Lucky Monyebane in September.
"I had already been called down in East London regarding the fight between Mpontshana and Sibiya, but I turned it down, not because I do not value the SA title, but because we had already been contracted for the GBC belt," said Pailman who has been in charge of Sibiya's career for more than 10 years.
Sibiya will oppose Tanzanian Ibrahim Class for the vacant GBC junior lightweight belt at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Friday.
"I know that Sibiya will bring home the GBC title. We will then go into the SA title fight fired up after winning the GBC belt, which will be Sibiya's third belt," added Pailman of Westside Boxing Academy based in Westbury.
Sibiya holds the WBF All Africa and ABU SADC belts.
Class, 27, holds the GBC lightweight belt and has 20 wins against four losses.
Their fight will be the first GBC fight in Africa since this German-based sanctioning body started in 2005.
"Sibiya is maturing nicely as he gets older. His conduct outside the ring, as he does not smoke nor drink, is helping him a lot. He is a dedicated family man," said Pailman.
"We left no stones unturned in our preparations. I went straight into the gym after my victorious 10-rounder against Malawi's Crispin Moliati on October 27. It has been hard training all the way," said Sibiya, who has 21 wins, 10 losses and four draws.