Rofhiwa's now ready for war
Unheralded boxing trainer Immanuel Mutavhatsindi says the preparations for Rofhiwa "War Child" Maemu's challenge of Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov for the IBO junior-lightweight title in Russia on Saturday are going as planned.
Mutavhatsindi is from Giyani but has set up camp in Soweto. He trains Maemu at the Bronx Gym in Hillbrow.
"Our preparations are going so well. We will be within the limit when we leave for Russia on Tuesday."
He says Maemu is training like a man possessed because he views the fight as the biggest opportunity to win a big title.
He has held the ABU and WBA Pan African titles, which he won under trainer Alan Toweel Junior. They parted ways last month.
"Some people are not aware that I have been training Rofhiwa underground since he lost to Paul Kamanga in 2013. Even when he was still with Alan, I still trained him underground. We come a long way," said Mutavhatsindi.
He helped Bukiwe "Anaconda" Nonina to not only win and defend the SA bantamweight female title five times but also guided her to the WBF belt that she still holds.
"We aim to get a knockout because we will be facing the champion in his back yard."
He said their sparring lasts five minutes per round. A round in competitive boxing lasts three minutes. "I want to make sure that he is super-fit and can pile pressure on the champion without any fear that he may burn himself up."
Maemu will make his debut in the junior-lightweight class.
He has 18 wins from 27 bouts while Rakhimov is undefeated after 13 fights.
Maemu, from Tshipako in Venda, said: "I will give my all. I am super-fit because I intend to put this guy under enormous pressure from the first minute.
"If he has not fought someone like me, then he is in serious trouble. I am a monster."
Maemu's relentless pressure helped him befuddle Tshifhiwa Munyai in Thohoyandou where Munyai eventually unfolded in seven rounds.
He had been involved in a 12-rounder with Malawian Fadhili Majika on December 17. He met Munyai 11 days later and the feeling was that he should still have been exhausted.
Yet Maemu sent down about 200 punches in two rounds and eventually dropped Munyai in round three before finally ending the fight in seven rounds.