Will Mbenge be in Cruz control?

Thulani 'Evolution' Mbenge and Mexican Diego Cruz meet for the vacant WBC International welterweight title at Emperors Palace tomorrow night.
Thulani 'Evolution' Mbenge and Mexican Diego Cruz meet for the vacant WBC International welterweight title at Emperors Palace tomorrow night.
Image: YOLANDA VAN DER STOEP

Diego Cruz represents another gut check in Thulani "Evolution" Mbenge's march to the top.

Mbenge will welcome the Mexican at Emperors Palace for the vacant WBC International welterweight belt tomorrow evening.

John Shipanuka from Zambia will be the referee.

Mbenge's victory for the ABU title earned him the No 31 spot in the WBC ratings because the ABU is affiliated to the WBC.

A number of African fighters, including Azumah Nelson from Ghana, first won ABU belts to eventually contest WBC titles.

The tall and rangy Mbenge is being guided via the same route. The 26-year-old boxer, who is trained by Sean Smith, has a big punch, flooring 10 of his 12 victims.

Mbenge last fought in September, when he retained the SA title on points against Mziwoxolo Ndwayana.

Cruz, 24, who has been a professional boxer since the age of 16, boasts 18 wins, five losses and two draws. He has just drawn with the vastly experienced Roberto Ortiz.

Meanwhile, Deejay Kriel will bid for the first defence of his WBC International mini- flyweight belt against Xolisa Magusha in the main supporting bout. Kriel boasts a points win over eight rounds against Magusha.

Promoter Rodney Berman said the winner will face IBO champion Simpiwe Konkco.

Kriel and Konkco are trained by Colin Nathan.

In the main bout of Golden Gloves' Palace Pandemonium bill, Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena will put his IBO cruiserweight title on the line against Dymtro Kucher of Ukraine.

Lerena, 25, won the title on points against Youri Kalenga last year. The big left-hander, who is also trained by Smith, has flattened nine of his 19 victims, losing just once.

Kucher, 34, last saw action in 2016, suffering his second defeat against 24 wins, with 18 knockouts and a draw.

Rising super middleweight contender Rowan Campbell should easily walk past washed up Masixole Botile in the first bout.

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