WBC champ Mbenge destined for greater things

Thulani Mbenge exchanges leather with Diego Cruz at Emperors Palace on Saturday.
Thulani Mbenge exchanges leather with Diego Cruz at Emperors Palace on Saturday.
Image: VELI NHLAPO

Newly crowned WBC International welterweight champion Thulani "Evolution" Mbenge is destined for greater heights, says WBC board member Peter Ngatane, who witnessed Mbenge win the title against Mexican Diego Cruz on Saturday.

"Mbenge is going to be a credible WBC champion if given more opportunities and space to operate," Ngatane said yesterday. "The beauty about Saturday night is that two members of WBC Ratings Committee were guests.

"That means Mbenge and WBC International mini flyweight holder Deekay Kriel, who retained his belt on points against Xolisa Magusha, will be awarded top ratings.

"The future is really bright for both boxers in the WBC."

The spin-off in winning a WBC belt is that it automatically earns ratings by the WBA, IBF and WBO because they unify with the WBC.

The WBC belt is the most prestigious of the four.

Only nine Africans have won the WBC belts since its founding in 1963. Mbenge and Kriel were rated 31st and 12th respectively prior to their bouts.

The last South African to win that green and gold belt was Dingaan Thobela, who dethroned Englishman Glen Catley as the super middleweight champion in 2001.

Mbenge - who is trained by Sean Smith - won the international belt via a lopsided points decision. The scores were 118-110 (twice) and 119-109. He remains undefeated after 13 fights with 10 knockouts.

The opportunity for Mbenge to challenge for the WBC international title was brought about by him winning the ABU belt. That is because the ABU is an affiliate to the Mexico- based WBC.

An ecstatic Mbenge said: "I cannot explain the joy of winning the WBC belt. It is overwhelming."

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