Phuzi unfazed by defending title against rugged Abiodun

Akani "Prime" Phuzi jabs Congolese Youssof Mwanza in a 12-rounder, to win the WBA Pan African cruiserweight belt. /Nick Lourens
Akani "Prime" Phuzi jabs Congolese Youssof Mwanza in a 12-rounder, to win the WBA Pan African cruiserweight belt. /Nick Lourens

The South African fight public must not think that Akani "Prime" Phuzi is dodging top boys in the cruiserweight by opting to go the WBA route, warned the boxer's trainer Alan Toweel Junior yesterday prior to his charge's defence for the WBA Pan African title against Nigerian Afinni "Infinity Finito" Abiodun at Sibaya Casino tomorrow evening.

Phuzi is a 24-year-old former top amateur from Malamulele in Limpopo who won bronze in the All Africa Games in East London in 2014.

He has had only five fights in the professional ranks since he turned professional last year. But already he is rated No 1 for the South African title which is held by Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu.

There is noise about Phuzi facing the winner between Mchunu and current ABU holder Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen who will meet at Emperors Palace on December 8.

But Toweel says there is no rush for his charge to chase after those big names.

"Akani is still work in progress," says Toweel. "I want Akani to defend his WBA Pan African title. Look, if the situation reaches a point where Akani is mandated to challenge for the SA title, we will step aside and allow the next available contender to go for it."

No need to rush, there's time for everything, Toweel says.

"It may come in 18 months from now or even sooner depending on his progress."

Phuzi said: "I am not scared of anyone."

He said he had been sparring with different guys making himself sharp for Nigerian Abiodun.

"We saw footage of his one fights and my coach [Toweel] says he's got a good jab but I don't think it will give me problems."

But the 33-year-old Nigerian who has been around as a pro fighter since 2013 with six wins, five knockouts and a draw said their bout promised fight fans a wonderful fight.

Asked what he thought will happen, the visibly agitated fighter said: "Why am I here? I'm here to take what belongs to me. My family and the Nigerian people are waiting for the title. The flight is ready to take me back home with the title.

"Phuzi is skilful, sharp and young but he's never fought a credible boxer like me."

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