South Africa

Cruel Junior finally gets his title shot

2017-03-12 06:07
PUNCHER: Tsiko Mulovhedzi says he is determined to mount a successful title defence in his home province. (Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix)

Johannesburg - Tsiko “Cruel Junior” Mulovhedzi is relieved that his bout against German Dario “Italian Trouble” Socci will finally be staged at Mangaung Indoor Sports Centre in Bloemfontein on April 7.

This comes after the bout, to be staged by Xaba Promotions, in which the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) intercontinental welterweight championship belt will be at stake, was postponed.

Championship belt

“I have been training hard to prepare for the fight that was to take place on Saturday. There was uncertainty about whether it would take place,” said Mulovhedzi.

“I can take it easy now that the final date has been agreed upon. We will exchange blows once and for all to see who deserves to be crowned the IBF intercontinental kingpin.”

Cruel Junior (30) holds the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) championship belt, which he said he would probably have to forfeit so that he could fight Socci.

Mulovhedzi has not defended his IBO crown for almost 11 months since successfully doing so against Mexican Jesus Gurrola with a unanimous points decision at the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex in Seshego, Limpopo, in April.

The IBO rules stipulate that a champion must defend his belt within nine months of winning it.

Mulovhedzi stopped Ali Funeka in the sixth round to win the title at the International Convention Centre in East London in 2015.

Date of bill

“I would like to dedicate my next fight to the memory of my late dad, Ratshilumela Mulovhedzi, who passed away in November at the age of 104. He was my source of inspiration,” said Cruel Junior.

The boss of Xaba Promotions, Ayanda Matiti, said the date of the bill had been changed to “allow the process of funding of the tournament to be in order”.

A look at the recent CVs of the two pugilists who will face each other suggests a thrilling match-up.

“We are confident this fight will be a humdinger given the pedigree of both boxers. It’s a pity that we’ve had to move the tournament to a new date,” Matiti said.

Socci (28) is scheduled to arrive in South Africa on April 8 to start preparing for the clash.

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