Bout promises to change notion about rematches

Thato Bonokwane, left, will face Samuel Esau from Western Cape in an eight-rounder in Kagiso on Saturday. Bonokwane is seen here pummeling Bongani Bhuti in a previous bout.
Thato Bonokwane, left, will face Samuel Esau from Western Cape in an eight-rounder in Kagiso on Saturday. Bonokwane is seen here pummeling Bongani Bhuti in a previous bout.
Image: Christo Smith

It is often said that rematches in boxing do not live up to the hype of the first fight.

But eloquent boxer Thato "Captain Charisma" Bonokoane and Innocent "Tycoon" Mantengu, a former school teacher, have promised to produce what could turn out to be one of the intriguing rematches.

They meet for the domestic vacant SA junior-featherweight supremacy, and the grudge fight will be staged by Team Dida at Kagiso Memorial Centre on June 28.

They fought to a draw in their first fight at the same venue on March 30.

There should have been a winner - as per BSA's regulation which says that if a bout in a vacant championship ends in a draw, each judge shall nominate a winner and the overall and ultimate winner must be voted by the judges.

A decision was taken after a meeting by the hierarchy of boxing after the fight that there must a be a rematch and also the promoter must be decided on a purse bid.

But Team Dida protested, because they felt they were being unfairly denied the opportunity to stage the rematch.

The feeling was that they were punished from a decision that had nothing to do with them. Hence they fought tooth and nail to get the opportunity to stage the rematch.

Both gladiators, who are trained by former professional fighters Pius Dipheko and Samson Ndlovu, respectively, have already signed contracts.

Bonokoane said: "I am excited about the rematch. Sparks will fly and we both have to make sure that we live up to the expectations. We've got to set the record straight, once and for all, because some people say Mantengu won the first fight while others say I won."

The WBF All-Africa champion from Kagiso said he watched the taped fight several times.

"To be honest, Mantengu came out guns blazing, firing volumes of punches in the first six rounds.

"But not all his punches hit the target; it's just that he threw a lot of punches. The complexion of the fight changed from round seven when I began scoring with cleaner and crisp punches."

Bonokoane maintains that either himself or his foe from Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal did not deserve the verdict.

"I am leaving all to the ring action this time," he promised.

On the other hand, Mantengu is adamant that he won the first fight. "I will appreciate neutral judges to avoid the repeat of what happened in the first fight."

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