Allen and Knapp are out to prove their finesse

Roarke Knapp will take on Congolese Mbiya Kanku at Emperors Palace o June 8.
Roarke Knapp will take on Congolese Mbiya Kanku at Emperors Palace o June 8.
Image: Alaister Russell

It is often said that it is better to strike when the iron is hot. That idiom means that it is wise to act on an opportunity promptly while favourable conditions exist to avoid disappointment later.

That is the case with pro boxers Roarke Knapp and Boyd Allen, whose promising careers are guided by veteran promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves.

Grooming boxers for the bigger stages has always been Berman's mainstay.

He introduced little-known Knapp and Allen to bigger crowds at Emperors Palace, where these stable-mates, trained by Vusi Mtolo, are yet to disappoint.

Knapp, whose facial appearance resembles that of a rock star, made an everlasting impression in May when he blasted Wynand Mulder in one round.

Allen, who's a former mixed martial arts fighter, retained his WBA Pan African junior middleweight belt with a points win against Brandon Thysse on the same night. Berman is bringing them back into action on June 8. Knapp, 20, who boasts seven knockouts in eight wins, will take on Zambia-based Congolese Mbiya Kanku over six rounds.

Allen, 28, who campaigned in the featherweight class in Extreme Fighting Championships, will welcome Aleksandra Zhuravskiy of Kazakhstan over eight rounds. Allen has made a quick transition from mixed martial arts and is undefeated in four boxing fights.

Mtolo paid tribute to Berman for giving his charges more action.

"There is nothing that keeps a boxer happy than being active," said Mtolo, who made it clear, though, that the pressure is mounting on him to make sure that Knapp and Allen continue with their winning ways.

"They are focused and preparations are going well. I want Roarke to begin to box so that he gains experience since he does not have an amateur background. It's good to knock opponents out but not all will go down. But I see no SA champion standing in front of him."

Mtolo said he had not seen Zhuravskiy's fights. "That is no big issue, though, because Boyd's level of fitness is key. He seemed to be gassing out in the later rounds against Brandon. I suppose it was because it was his first 10-rounder. Again, the pressure is on me to make sure he is up to standard. But I can guarantee you one thing - two wins on June 8."

Topping the bill will be Kevin "Two Guns" Lerena in the fourth defence of his IBO cruiserweight belt against Vasil Ducar of the Czech Republic.

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