Venda Viper denies faking it

Ruann Visser lands a punch on Justice Silinga during their SA and WBA Pan African heavyweight bout at Sun Arena in Pretoria on Sunday.
Ruann Visser lands a punch on Justice Silinga during their SA and WBA Pan African heavyweight bout at Sun Arena in Pretoria on Sunday.
Image: Masi Losi

Justice "Venda Viper" Siliga told Sowetan yesterday that he is a proud family man to taint his image by taking a dive in a competitive boxing match.

He was reacting to the growing criticism that he took a dive in the first round knockout loss to SA heavyweight champion Ruann "Giant King" Visser two weeks ago.

Fault-finding grew even bigger last week after the repeat of the fight by SABC's TKO Magazine on Friday night.

Siliga's trainer Aan Toweel Junior was also the recipient of calls from concerned fight followers.

"Some people were asking if Justice took a dive while others were actually saying that he took a dive," said Toweel. "I've watched the fight over and over again; honestly, I cannot tell you if Justice took a dive or not. I called him and begged him to be honest with me because I want to know if he really took a dive and he said 'no ways'."

Sowetan called Siliga for his side of the story and he said: "I would never do such a thing to myself, my reputation, to my children (two girls) and my wife. Why then did I train so hard for three months when I was going to take a dive?"

He added: "I went in there to win; I am a slow starter naturally. I just saw the referee standing over me counting."

Siliga said he had so much people, including his sponsors, backing him to win the fight.

That was his second challenge for the domestic belt, having lost by points to then champion Osborne Machimana, who was in turn dethroned by Visser.

Visser shook Siliga with a right hand earlier and the challenger got himself together while moving backwards.

The champion, who was the aggressor, trapped Siliga in the corner where he unleashed a two-punch combination. It was over when referee Tony Nyangiwe reached the count of 10 while Siliga was still lying on his back.

Siliga gave credit to Visser but said the experience still haunts him. "I have returned to the gym. I am weighing my options and will make the right decision when time is right," said the boxer from HaMagau outside Louis Trichardt.


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