Johannesburg - A shortage of challengers will force Osborne “Big Daddy” Machimana to vacate his South African heavyweight title in May and pursue the international route.
Machimana has not defended his championship belt since winning it from Anton Nel via a fourth-round knockout at the Birchwood Hotel in Brakpan last May. This was the second time that the fighters met for the national championship contest. Their first clash saw Machimana beat Nel on points for the national crown at Carnival City, Brakpan, in 2005.
It has been almost nine months since “Big Daddy” last squared up for the South African championship.
He feels that lack of action, as a result of no local opponents challenging him, does not augur well for his career. At the age of 38, Big Daddy is well past his prime and needs to get regular action locally and abroad before he hangs up his gloves. But no local foes are prepared to face him for his diadem.
According to the latest ratings, Ruann Visser from Gauteng, who has lost once in 10 fights, is the number one contender for Machimana’s belt, while Didier Kilola, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo but is now based in the Western Cape, is placed second. Nel, from Gauteng, is third.
“I’ve decided to let go of the belt in May and pursue an international route. It doesn’t help being a South African champion and not be able to put your belt on the line,” said Machimana, who won a bronze medal at the All-Africa Games in Johannesburg in 1999.
“I feel I’m getting old and need to defend my crown regularly. No contender is prepared to fight me.”
Big Daddy last threw punches competitively in September, when he lost to Swede Otto Wallin by a unanimous points decision over 10 rounds in Hovet, Stockholm.
“I don’t have a promoter at the moment and I regard myself as a freelancer,” he said.
Machimana’s manager Glen Craig said he was negotiating with Australian promoter Phillip Silver to have Machimana slug it out with Australian Lucas Browne for the World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight title eliminator in Australia. Browne previously held the WBA title.
“Browne and Machimana share the same nickname – Big Daddy. It will be interesting to see how the fight goes,” said Craig.
Silver, who heads Knockout Boxing Promotions in Sydney, confirmed that negotiations were continuing.
“I’ve been approached by Osborne’s management to stage his fight against Browne. I’m keen to get the two in the ring here in Sydney. The date has not been finalised yet and discussions are ongoing,” said Silver.
Browne (37), a former mixed martial artist from New South Wales, made history last May by becoming Australia’s first world heavyweight boxing champion after winning the WBA title. However, he was stripped of the crown two months later for failing a drug test.
“I hear that his ban will be lifted soon, hence we’re keen to have him fight Osborne,” Silver said.