Thulani Mbenge unfazed by Germany trip

IBO welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge will defend against Sebastian Formella in June.
IBO welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge will defend against Sebastian Formella in June.
Image: Frennie Shivambu

Thulani Mbenge has travelled the world at large, but in the amateur ranks, where he won bronze in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Having turned professional in 2015 under Gauteng trainer Sean Smith, Mbenge will have his first trip outside South Africa as a professional boxer soon.

The former SA and ABU undefeated champion will be in Germany to bid for the third defence of his IBO welterweight belt against Sebastian Formella, the WBO European champion, in Hamburg, on July 6.

The two boxers are yet to lose a bout.

Mbenge, who has defeated credible opponents like Diego Cruz, Gabriel Chaves and Miguel Vasquez, boasts 12 knockouts in 15 wins.

Formella, who also has big names on his list of victims, including Namibian Bethuel Ushona, has knocked out 10 of his 20 victims.

Their fight will be jointly organised by Mbenge's promoter Rodney Berman and his Germany counterpart Nisse Saureland, whose brother Kalle is organising the World Boxing Series.

Nisse's boxers Artur Mann and Timo Schwarzkopf fought in Berman's tournament at Emperors Palace last month where Kevin Lerena blasted Mann in four rounds while Schwarzkopf lost an eight- rounder to Gift Bholo.

Mbenge described Formella as a mover, just like Vasquez.

"He is decent," said Mbenge, who made it clear that Formella would not be able to withstand his power.

"When it comes to power, I become too much for my opponents. Also when I switch, I become dangerous and hit the nose bone through their brains.

"Look, this has been a slow year for me in terms of action. I last fought in December but I am happy for the upcoming opportunity. I cannot wait to get my brand out there."

Smith said they needed to make up for the first half of the year after being inactive.

"We need to make sure that we put up a strong performance in Germany. Certainly, there is no time to regress.

"He's on a strict conditioning programme, which I believe will enable him to compete with the elite of the welterweight division, like Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford."

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