Johannesburg - Fresh from reclaiming the South African heavyweight title, Osborne “Big Daddy” Machimana has vowed to take his career seriously by training hard to be in good shape.
His undertaking comes after he beat Justice Siliga by unanimous points decision at the Dr Molemela Sports Complex in Bloemfontein two weeks ago.
In doing so, Machimana reclaimed the title which he had vacated after knocking out Anton Nel in four rounds at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg in May.
A grossly “overweight” Big Daddy came to the bout tipping the scales at 138.60kg against an opponent who was in great shape weighing in at 102.45kg. Unfortunately, there is no limit in the heavyweight class and Machimana took to the ring outweighing his foe by 36.25kg.
“I’m quite aware that I won the fight being unfit as a result of having not trained for this fight. I am working very hard at the moment to shed more kilos to look like a proper champion,” said the Johannesburg-based Machimana.
But the 39-year-old titleholder admits to not having taken his fight against the six-fight novice Siliga seriously and didn’t go to the gym. Machimana said he was now looking forward to being a disciplined title holder.
“I’m at the stage where I’m supposed to retire soon from boxing. This is the right time to be in shape and end my career looking very fit".
But the veteran of 23 wins, 10 defeats and two draws from 35 professional bouts seems to be a disgrace to the weight class that used to be the jewel in the crown of boxing in the past.
No credible contenders
The country has boasted big punchers like Corrie Sanders, Francois “White Buffalo” Botha and Sam Ubokane.
Before then there were exciting sluggers like Mike Schutte, who also happened to be big like Machimana.
Other top heavyweights have included: Kallie Knoetze; Gerrie Coetzee; Pierre Coetzer and Johnny du Plooy.
But current ratings show there are no credible contenders for Machimana’s throne.
Juan Visser holds the African Boxing Union title. The division also includes unknown top-ranked boxers such as Marc Subramoney.
Boxing South Africa ratings committee chairperson Willie Saayman said Machimana did not deserve to be regarded as the country’s top heavyweight.
“He has not been active enough to be regarded as the real deal in the weight class,” Saayman said.
“My view is that the weight class is dormant because promoters do not want to spend their money promoting fights in this category as they prefer fighters of lighter divisions".