Fireworks expected in 'tough' fight between Koopman and Thysse

Junior-middleweight champ advised to use his jab, establish control

Brandon Thysse throws an uppercut at Roarke Knapp.
Brandon Thysse throws an uppercut at Roarke Knapp.
Image: Nick Lourens

Explosive exchange of leather is what is in store for fight fans, especially from the three international boxing matches that will form part of the "Palace Knights" – an international tournament – to be staged by Golden Gloves at Emperors Palace on Saturday evening.

Reigning SA junior-middleweight king Shervontaigh Koopman, Roarke "Razor" Knap and Ricardo "Magic Man" Malajika, whose impressive fighting knacks are polished at the Brian Mitchell Boxing Academy in Edenvale by successful yet underrated trainer Vusi Mtolo, will be involved in those boxing matches.

Koopman will put his belt on the line against Brandon "Fast Guns" Thysse over 12 rounds while ABU junior-middleweight holder Knapp will welcome Polish Przemyslaw Zysk in a non-title 10-rounder.

Malajika will oppose Argentinian Kevin Luis Munoz for the IBO junior-bantamweight vacant title over 12 rounds.

Thysse, trained by Damien Durandt in Linksfield, is both tough and rugged. He can take a good punch and he has a physical grinding style.

Victory for Knapp, who has already caught the attention of the WBC ratings committee, will improve his ranking.

Malajika should reciprocate with a positive result to promoter Rodney Berman and manager Brian Mitchell for making it possible that he fights for a "world" title with only 11 wins from 13 fights.

It was through consistency in defending IBO belts that many local champions were recognised by other boxing bodies.

The list includes Mitchell's former fighter Cassius "Shy Guy" Baloyi, who went on to win six world titles in three weight divisions and that incudes the IBF junior-lightweight belt he won against Mexican legend Manuel Median in the US in 2006.

Koopman's father Charlton Koopman – who is an assistant to Mtolo – said: "People are going to see fireworks. We know Thysse can rake a punch but we have done our preparation.

"When you watch a fighter on television, you think 'I can do this and that' but when you step inside the ring with that fighter, it's a different story.

"Shervontaigh must utilise his jab and establish control with it and that will enable him to control the fight but it's going be a tough fight. It's the fight that must happen and I think the time is right."

Koopman is undefeated after 11 fights while Thysse has 15 wins, three losses and a draw. There will be few undercard fights and action will be broadcast live by SuperSport from 7pm.

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