Match to determine inexperienced fighter's future in boxing

Campbell's bout against roaring Liebenberg a real test

Rowan Campbell lands a punch against Alex Kabunga during their IBO All Africa Middleweight bout which he won at Emperor's Palace.
Rowan Campbell lands a punch against Alex Kabunga during their IBO All Africa Middleweight bout which he won at Emperor's Palace.
Image: Masi Losi

The long-held argument that styles make fights will be tested when right-handed sluggers Rowan Campbell and Ryno Liebenberg collide at Emperors Palace in the main contest of Golden Gloves six-fight card on March 14.

Their nicknames – “Braveheart” and “The Lion” – give a clear indication of what to expect.

Promoter of the tournament – Rodney Berman – dubbed it “Battle lines are Drawn”, and that mantra befits this type of match-up which saw the two boxers' trainers Peter Smith and Colin Nathan exchange heavy verbal barbs, but after Berman has announced the fight last year.

Campbell and Liebenberg don’t take a step back; they go forward all the time. Their boxing match is a potential slugfest. They will meet against each other, and when that happens anything legal and illegal, head-butts, intended or accidental, and elbows can be involved. They are likely to crash into each other violently. Actually, BSA needs to appoint a cool-headed referee who understands and appreciates the variation of punches and enjoys the sight of blood, which is part of boxing. 

On paper, Campbell’s domestic and IBO All Africa super middleweight belts will be on the line but in reality, it is his future in the fistic spot that will face real test.

Campbell, 26, has no amateur background but Smith has wonders with this greenhorn who remains undefeated after 12 fights. What makes the job easier for Smith – a former heavyweight pro boxer himself – is that his student is willing to learn, go an extra mile in everything and that he is fearless.

Campbell is getting better in every fight and he has regained the form of winning by stoppages which was what he did in his first two years, knocking out opponents. Nickolas Radley must be grateful to BSA’s regulation which prevents a fighter from challenging for a title when they don’t have three fights in that weight division, otherwise he would have kissed goodbye his light heavyweight title when Campbell sent him to slumblerland in one round of their fight, which was the last for Campbell in 2019.

But Campbell will face a dangerous opponent in Liebenberg, who remains a very dangerous opponent for Campbell purely because the 37-year-old Liebenberg has absolute nothing to lose. He has seen it and done it all, and won a shirt.

Campbell must pass this examination with flying colours in order to move to another level.

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