'Mbenge is just an average boxer'

Thulani Mbenge, left, and Kuvesa Katembo engage in verbal barbs during their meeting last week.
Thulani Mbenge, left, and Kuvesa Katembo engage in verbal barbs during their meeting last week.
Image: Nick Lourens

While the local fight public still see a bright future in Thulani Mbenge who is on a comeback trail since losing the IBO welterweight boxing belt last year, Congolese boxing manager Patrick Bonyeme disagrees with the general feeling.

He says the former SA, ABU, WBC International and IBO welterweight boxing champion is overrated.

"My boxer Kuvesa Mardochee Kuvesa Katembo will expose Mbenge for who he is when they meet for the ABU title on March 28," he said.

Their fight will headline a TLB Promotions bill at Riera Resort in Vereeniging, Vaal. "We know his strengths and weaknesses; we sparred against him some time back and his trainer Sean Smith knows what happened in those sessions, there is nothing special about Thulani," added Bonyeme.

Bonyeme said Mbenge's wins are from fights that took place at Emperors Palace. "They don't mean anything to us because you know what happens there. You can tell all the winners before tournaments begin," said Bonyeme. Mbenge's upcoming fight against Kuvesa will be staged by Joyce Kungwane of TLB Promotions.

"Thulani lost the IBO belt to another average boxer (Sebastian Formella) just to prove what I mean when I say Thulani is average. There is no way that Thulani will beat Kuvesa," vowed Bonyeme.

"Look at what Kuvesa did against highly rated Ghanaian Obodai Sai from Ghana (rated No 10 in the world) in August last year. They declared the fight a draw just because we fought him at home. Kuvesa is a fearless animal who can go 20 rounds."

Mbenge, 28, and Katembo, 26, met at a media briefing last week and got involved in push and shove match but sanity prevailed because no blows were exchanged.