Knapp may be Mzansi boxing's next big thing

Roarke Knapp and Eric Mukadi rejoice after their drawn bout in Turffontein on Sunday. / Nick Lourens
Roarke Knapp and Eric Mukadi rejoice after their drawn bout in Turffontein on Sunday. / Nick Lourens

Roarke Knapp, a 19-year-old six-fight novice, announced his star potential when he managed to grab a share of the spoils against veteran Congolese fighter Eric Kapia Mukadi.

Their topsy-turvy eight-rounder at Turffontein Hall on Sunday had all the attributes of a contender for fight of the year.

Knapp, who was born in the UK but is now based in Edenvale, sent a strong warning to SA junior middleweight champion Nkululeko "Bull Dog" Mhlongo.

The teen, who is trained by unheralded Mimu Spirito at the Sweat Box Gym, is currently rated No 3 and remains undefeated after seven bouts, with five knockouts.

There were concerns the bout was a mismatch.

Mukadi, who is trained by Rocky Weinstein, has won 20 of his 24 fights, with three knockouts. But his impressive record did not scare Knapp.

They went at each other from the word go but action really started to heat up from round four. Knapp moved around the ring with the grace of a ballerina, while Mukadi was the aggressor.

There were no knockdowns.

Referee Simon Mukadi (no relation to Eric) handled the fight well, giving the boxers room to express themselves.

The two gladiators were given a standing ovation, while their efforts earned them a bonus of R5000 each.

Earlier in the Boxing 5 bill, Mawande Mbusi knocked fan favourite Layton Gloss out in the third round. Paul Mangxilana found Anslin Booysens in uncompromising mood as he won their close six-rounder on points.

Sheldon Schultz made an impressive debut when he stopped Earl Warne in the second round, while Clement Kamanga won his eight-rounder on points against Byson Gwayani.

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