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Fireworks expected in revenge fight between Bulldog and Bopape

BSA to present Mhlongo with SA junior-middleweight belt

Promoter Lebo Mahoko and Nkululeko 'Bulldog' Mhlongo, who takes on John 'Section 29' Bopape on April 29.
Promoter Lebo Mahoko and Nkululeko 'Bulldog' Mhlongo, who takes on John 'Section 29' Bopape on April 29.
Image: Nick Lourens

One thing is guaranteed for fight fans who will attend Dream Team’s upcoming international boxing tournament that will form part of wild Freedom Day celebrations – and that is blood, sweat and tears when Nkululeko “Bulldog” Mhlongo takes on John “Section 29” Bopape on April 29.

The stylish Mhlongo – who was the hot favourite to win their first fight in Durban last year – wants revenge for his points loss in that non-title bout organised by Zandile Malinga.

Mhlongo will put the SA middleweight belt on the line in their eagerly awaited rematch. His promoter Lebo Mahoko, the owner of Dream Team promotions, says his charge wants to free himself from mental stress that was caused by his points defeat to Bopape. 

Mhlongo did not see that one coming. Bopape, from Alexandra township in Johannesburg, became the first SA-born fighter to defeat Mhlongo in the past five years. Experts had tipped him to win easily.

Mhlongo was fortunate that Bopape did not qualify to challenge for the SA belt, otherwise Mhlongo would have lost it. Malinga had initially proposed to Boxing SA that Mhlongo’s belt be on the line.

Mahoko’s intentions were to stage their rematch last year.

“That time has come, my brother,” he said on Wednesday. “Dream Team and Free State Sport Foundation is staging this tournament in a two-pronged mission – celebrate Freedom Day while giving Mhlongo an opportunity to show that his loss to John was just a speed bump and also help improve the lives of communities in Mangaung through sport.”

Mahoko added that BSA will present Mhlongo with his SA junior-middleweight belt for having defended it successfully five times before moving up to the middleweight class.

Mahoko said junior-middleweight prospect Jackson Kaptein from Bloemfontein will welcome Johannesburg-based Limpopo fighter Khensahosi Makondo over eight rounds.

This bout also has the potential to be a cracker based on the current performances of both these fighters. Mahoko has afforded Matshidiso Mokebisi an opportunity to get back to winning ways after her loss in an IBF Africa title fight in Gqeberha in December.

She will welcome Cecilia Pitiseni from Zimbabwe over eight rounds, while Nosicawe Dube from the Free State will take on Pitiseni’s homie Sehlisele Nhliziyo in a female junior-middleweight six-rounder. There will be five more bouts and action will begin at 5pm.

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