Tough fight for Jabulani Makhense as he faces Mcotheli
Three years ago no one bothered to look at Jabulani Makhense, not even veteran promoter Jeff Ellis, who gave this fighter his first professional boxing match at Emperors Palace in 2016.
But after only six wins, the 23-year-old novice, whose career is guided by trainer and retired former SA WBU and IBO cruiserweight boxing champion Sebastiaan Rothmann, will oppose current respected SA junior welterweight champion Xolani "Tiger" Mcotheli for the vacant WBA Pan African title at the imposing casino in Kempton Park on February 24.
That is not a major boxing belt, so to speak, but the opportunity for Makhense to be matched with Mcotheli shows how much confidence promoter Rodney Berman has in his charge.
But the truth is that, it's not going to be an easy fight for Makhense. Mcotheli, from Mthatha, is no pushover.
The boxer, who also holds the WBF Intercontinental belt, is more experienced and has fought big boys including former world champions Malcolm Klassen and Mzonke Fana in 21 bouts and has fought more than four 12 rounders.
Mcotheli has 17 wins and four losses.
Berman works with Ellis, whose annual development tournament called Christmas Cracker, helped uncover Makhense.
Ellis, Phillip Silver and Allan Young started this concept in 2007 in a form a box-and-dine.
Ellis has already cut ties with Silver and Young and the former pro boxer has teamed up with Berman.
Together they upped the ante on the Christmas Cracker which began featuring title fights.
Berman gave Makhense the honour to headline a bill in October and the boxer, whose trainer was promoted by Berman, grabbed it with both hands and reciprocated with a seventh round demolition of tough veteran Gift Bholo for the Gauteng junior welterweight title.
Berman's upcoming tournament features an IBF All Africa title fight between Clement "Slow Poison" Kamanga and Marios Matamba. Current SA super middleweight champion, Rowan Campbell, another product of the Christmas Cracker tournament, will also be in action.