Congolese's manager is beating war drums for the fight

Mbenge faces acid test in Kuvesa

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

If Mardochee Kuvesa Katembo is able to transform into real action the verbal barbs spoken by his manager ahead of the boxer’s eagerly-awaited match against Thulani “Evolution” Mbenge on October 17, then it means Mbenge will rue signing to face the Congolese.

SA-based Kuvesa is trained by John Tshabalala and  the 27-year-old foreign from Kinshasa, DRC, has won 13 of his 16 fights. His last two bouts were under Tshabalala, including drawn match against Ghanaian Obodai "The Miracle" Sai in Accra on August 9 last year. Sai went into the fight boasting 26 knockout from 35 wins with three losses.

Kuvesa raised eyebrows when he easily toyed with France “Fighting Time” Ramabolu – the former WBA Pan African and WBF International champion – in their eight-rounder at Turffontein Racecourse, Johannesburg south,  in June last year. That was Kuvesa’s second fight in South Africa where he made his debut in 2018 with an impressive performance – points win – over tough-as-nails  Vladyslav  Baravov from Ukraine when they met at Time Square in Pretoria.

Patrick Bonyeme, Kuvesa's manager, owns a gym in Glenvista, Johannesburg east. He manages a number of other boxers whose skills are polished by Tshabalala from the Free State. According to Bonyeme, the fight between Kuvesa and Mbenge will make South Africa realise how good Tshabalala is as a trainer.

“We have already signed the contract and we can’t wait to expose Thulani’s flaws,” said Bonyeme. Female promoter Joyce Kungwane’s TLB Promotion intends to stage the fight at YMCA Hall, Orlando, in Soweto. Her entire tournament is subject to Boxing SA’s approval. This tournament was supposed to have taken place in March but the national lockdown forced it to be postponed.

“We are ready to rumble and be crowned ABU champion. I still stand by what I said before the fight was postponed that Thulani is an average boxer who has been lucky to become an IBO champ because he was looked after by Golden Gloves,” said Bonyeme about the hard-hitting former SA, WBC International and IBO welterweight champion  - a former top amateur from Mdantsane – whose pro career is guided in Johannesburg by trainer Sean Smith.

Mbenge tasted defeat in his 16th fight in July last year – his second defense of  the IBO belt – to Sebastian Formella in Germany.

“If Thulani can’t beat Formella, then what will he do against Kuvesa,” asked Bonyeme, who maintained that his charge was quicker and more talented than Formella.

“Even when Thulani fought Ndwayana (Mziwoxolo for the SA title in 2017) he was gone after four rounds. I know Thulani can’t fight from first round until the last round with same rhythm. We’ve been watching and studying him in all his fights. Don’t forget that this time Thulani will be fighting against an invisible man. It will be the same story like Ramabolu who tried but couldn't find Kuvesa in the ring. That is how good John Tshabalala is as a trainer but he is underrated.”

Mbenge, 29, has stopped12 of his 15 victims.

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