Winner to earn right to fight WBC cruiserweight champ Makabu

Mchunu ready to face Duradola

Thabiso Mchunu defeating Daniel Venter during their ABU Cruiserweight Title at Emperors Palece in Ekurhuleni , Johannesburg.
Thabiso Mchunu defeating Daniel Venter during their ABU Cruiserweight Title at Emperors Palece in Ekurhuleni , Johannesburg.
Image: Antonio Muchave

If Thabiso "The Rock” Mchunu converts his confidence into reality against Olanrewaju “God’s Power” Duradola then Africa must prepare for an all-African WBC cruiserweight championship.

That title is held by SA-based Congolese Ilunga “Junior” Makabu. Mchunu – the No 1 rated contender who holds the WBC Silver belt – and will clash with the US-based Nigerian in what will officially be the WBC title elimination fight. Duradola is rated a spot below Mchunu from KwaXimba, Cato Ridge in Pietermaritzburg .

Their elimination fight will be organised by the New York-based DiBella Entertainment of American Hall of Fame inductee, boxing promoter Loui DiBella. Among the champions he has promoted are Bernard Hopkins, Sergio Martinez and Deontay Wilder.

The 60-year-old – whose empire promotes many big names, including Ghanaian former IBF lightweight  champion Richard Commey as well as female world champions like WBO and WBC featherweight titlist Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano from Puerto Rico and America’s WBA super middleweight champ Alicia "The Empress” Napoleon – won the purse bid last week.

DiBella has 90 days to organise the all-African affair fight.

Speaking from home, Mchunu, whose victory in a WBC Silver championship fight in Russia in December against vastly experienced former WBA and IBF world cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev earned him the No 1 spot in the WBC ratings, said: "What you have told me is news. The last time I heard news about me was that there will be a purse bid. But I am excited to hear such news; these are good and encouraging news. I have no issues with Duradola at all; I mean he will never beat me.”

The left-handed Mchunu – who won his first boxing title, the SA cruiserweight belt, in his fourth pro fight in 2008 – defeated Duradola on points for the NABF title in Atlantic City, USA, on January 24 2014. That was Duradola’s only second loss in 19 fights.

That win propelled Mchunu to meeting Makabu in the WBC cruiserweight elimination bout. They met in Durban in 2015 and Makabu stopped Mchunu in the 11th round. Makabu went on to lose to Tony Bellew for the vacant WBC title  (K03) in Liverpool, England, in 2017.

Makabu bounced back very strong to record a string of wins which eventually put him in line to challenge for the same belt. The boxer, who is trained here by Damien Durandt, finally won it and this time at home in Congo.

On the other hand, Mchunu, who is under the guidance of trainer Sean Smith, dusted himself off after losing to Makabu. But it was his victory against Lebedev that got the attention of the WBC rating committee. Duradola also registered four wins in five fights last year.

“When I fought him for the first fight time, there were two options: to either face him or someone else. I chose him because he was a better boxer in every department – his ratings were high and he had a very good record. The other guy was average, so I chose Duradola because I enjoy fighting tougher opponents. That is how I get to grow as a fighter,” said Mchunu.

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