Leone to bring out best of Buthelezi

Julius Alcos and Gideon Buthelezi in their IBO minimum weight title fight at Emperors Palace.
Julius Alcos and Gideon Buthelezi in their IBO minimum weight title fight at Emperors Palace.

When an accomplished boxing trainer like Elias "Mr Fantastic" Tshabalala says his charge will take his opponent to the cleaners, a mere mortal should listen up.

The straight-talking mentor said Dingaan "Rose of Soweto" Thobela would dethrone Glen Catley as the WBC super middleweight champion in Brakpan in 2000 and Tshabalala was dismissed as a day dreamer. Thobela knocked Catley out in the 12th round.

Tshabalala has issued another stern warning, that his boxer Gideon "Hardcore" Buthelezi will not have any difficulties retaining his belt against Lucas Emmanuel Fernandes Leone at East London's ICC Hall on Friday night.

The 26-year-old Argentinian is rated No 28 by the IBO. Leone has nine knockouts in 12 wins, a loss and a draw.

Elias Tshabalala / Veli Nhlapo
Elias Tshabalala / Veli Nhlapo

"He is not in Gideon's league," warned Tshabalala yesterday.

"The boy [Leone] is smart and actually I am happy that we will have some challenge. You know me . I don't like my fighters to face palookas because such boxers can make you look bad.

"I want to commend the championship committee of the IBO for sanctioning a young and courageous boxer like Leone because he will bring out the best of Gideon."

Tshabalala warned that if Buthelezi cannot sweep Leone aside, then he cannot even begin to dream of facing WBC, WBA and IBF champions.

The 32-year-old left-handed champion from Boipatong in the Vaal will bid for the fourth defence of the belt he won in 2015.

Buthelezi has chalked up 20 wins in 25 fights.

Their bout on Friday will headline Xaba Promotions and Events' four-title event which will be a box-and-dine affair.

The tournament will also feature a WBA and four IBF-sanctioned bouts.

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