Zingange ready for his next bout after taking SA title
'I am hungrier than before I won the title'
When Devon Currer announced on February 24 after 12 fiercely contested rounds of boxing that Sibusiso Zingange was the “new” SA junior-lightweight champion, the comprehension of that verdict was the usual crowning of a boxer.
But it was more than a title for a boy from Ramaphosa, an informal settlement in Boksburg. Zingange overcame many difficulties. All of a sudden he is the pride of his country through his fists.
His name is now engraved in the annals of SA boxing history. Credit to his new management – trainer Zaron Ramos and manager Emmanuel Mutavhatsindi. Their charge was ready mentally and physically to face his biggest test to date as a fighter in defending champion Phila Mpontshane.
On Thursday night, Zingange puts his title on the line against Lunga Stemela at The Galleria in Sandton. That is the new home of The Walt Disney Company Africa, which had staged its tournaments in Fourways.
Zingange exceeded his ability on that night when he beat Mpontshane and that was confirmed by the three judges’ scorecards, which read 120-109, 120-107 and 118-109.
“That win did not bring joy only to me, my family, trainers and managers but also to people where I stay,” said the champion. “It showed that anything is possible if you put your mind into it, no matter your circumstances.
“I walk down the streets, people call me champ and that makes me realise how much it means to them to have a South African champion in their neighbourhood.”
Zingange has won the ABU and WBA Pan African titles, which was an appropriate step in his grooming. Retaining the national title against Stemela will earn Zingange recognition from world bodies and his current No 67 rating in the world will definitely improve.
Stemela is trained by Emile Brice.
“He is tough and is a pressure fighter. I am going to take him through deep waters and see if he can swim,” said Zingange. “I am hungrier than before I won the title. I am preparing myself for that long and winding journey towards getting a chance to fight for a world title.”
In the main supporting bout SA bantamweight women's champion Sharadene Fortuin and Ellen Simwaka will do battle for the IBF Continental Africa belt.
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