Stimela a very tough opponent

Will Fuzile blow his comeback chance?

Azinga Fuzile clashes with Shavkat Rakhimov at the Orient Theatre.
Azinga Fuzile clashes with Shavkat Rakhimov at the Orient Theatre.
Image: ALAN EASON

Expectations are that Azinga Fuzile will make a ”golden” return to action next Sunday afternoon at Orient Theatre in East London. 

The fight, his comeback since suffering a ninth-round knockout loss to Russian Shavkhatdzhon Rakhimov in September last year – will be against 2018 BSA prospect of the year award winner Lunga Stimela.

Fuzile's loss, the first against 15 straight wins, was in a fight for the rights to challenge for the IBF junior lightweight title which is currently held by Joseph “Jojo” Diaz. The American will defend against Rakhimov in February and the outcome will affect IBF’s ratings in that weight division. Fuzile is rated No 4 behind Kenichi Ogawa, while the No 2 spot is vacant.

Victory for Fuzile could see him battle it out with Ogawa from Japan in what will be an elimination fight to earn the rights to challenge the triumphant between Diaz and Rakhimov. It is for all these reasons that the awkward left-hander must brush Stimela aside.

It will not be that easy, though, but the truth is that it is a big step-up for Stimela in terms of quality opposition. Stimela is undefeated after 13 fights. On the other hand Fuzile, who won BSA prospect of the year award in 2017, has fought and beaten some top names, including Mabhutana Sinyabi, Rofhiwa Maemu, Tshifhiwa Munyai and Malcolm Klassen.  Rakhimov stopped both Maemu and Klassen in their fights. Sadly there will be no fans  next Sunday to rally behind the province’s darling due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. 

Fuzile’s trainer Colin “Nomakanjani” Nathan was reluctant to comment when contacted yesterday. “I do not have anything to say except that we will do the talking in the ring,” he said. 

There is concern that Stimela could prove to be a wrong opponent for the comeback kid. But Nomfesane Nyatela – the CEO of Rumble Africa, which is responsible for Fuzile’s career – said: “If we say Azinga is the best in his division, therefore we cannot say Stimela is a wrong opponent. Actually Azinga must beat Lunga.”

Nathan’s other charge, tough-as-nails WBC Silver featherweight holder Lerato “Lights Out” Dlamini will take on ring veteran Toto “Gugs Gang” Helebe. The latter, from Gugulethu in Cape Town, is a former SA bantamweight champion with 20 wins and seven losses.

Dlamini – who sprung a surprise with an emphatic beating of accomplished former SA and IBO bantamweight, WBA Super and IBO featherweight holder Simpiwe “V12” Vetyeka – has 14 wins and a loss. Dlamini also shocked the boxing fraternity in Saudi Arabia when he beat highly rated Dave Penalosa to win the WBC Silver belt. 

This match-up should be a great fight. 

The management of 20-year-old prospect Luyanda “Pretty Boy” Ntwanambi could have made a miscalculation by challenging tough-as-teak SA and WBC International flyweight champion Jackson “M3” Chauke. 

Ntwanambi remains undefeated with seven wins against a draw, while Chauke boasts 14 knockouts in 19 wins, a loss and a draw. Ntwanambi – who is trained by Ben  Mtyhaliseli – said: “We will see on December 6 if I am not ready for Jackson. I will win this fight definitely. I am willing to take a bet against you so that I make an extra money after beating Chauke.” Ntwanambi joked.

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