Johannesburg - Nkululeko “The Bulldog” Mhlongo has vowed to repeat the outcome of his fight against France “Fighting Time” Ramabolu when the two collide at the indoor centre at the Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday.
At stake will be Mhlongo’s South African and World Boxing Federation (WBF) intercontinental junior middleweight titles.
The Bulldog beat Fighting Time with a 10th-round technical knockout at Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley in February. Ramabolu had retired in the ninth round due to swollen eyes caused by the heavy punishment he suffered.
The fighters will be exchanging leather for the second time in a space of seven months. The bout will be the headliner of the showdown, which will form part of the annual Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe).
The Bulldog is so upbeat about winning again that he believes he will stop the challenger as he did in their previous clash.
“Ramabolu is taking a big chance by fighting me for the second time,” said Mhlongo.
“I’m going to show him that I’m the best in the division by either knocking him out or stopping him like I did the last time.”
Only his national crown should have been on the line, but he has been ordered by the WBF to defend on the same bill or else be stripped of the WBF crown. So both belts will be at stake.
“I have been training hard for this encounter,” said The Bulldog.
“My punch rate has improved and I can’t afford to lose any of my belts on the night.”
But Ramabolu believes a new title holder will be crowned. He beat Chris Mugisho by an unanimous points decision in his last outing at James Motlatsi Hall in Klerksdorp in May.
“I lost to Mhlongo previously simply because I wasn’t focused,” said Ramabolu, who is based in Virginia in the Free State, but trains in Gauteng.
“I’ve worked on my mistakes and will end his reign this time around.”
He said he had improved his work rate and would relieve the champion of his crown.
A comparison of both fighters tips the scales in Mhlongo’s favour. The Bulldog is more experienced and also enjoys a reach advantage.
But the encounter will be thrilling, with the sluggers raring to go toe-to-toe from the first round.
The main fight on the undercard of promoter Lebo Mahoko’s Macufe bill will be the vacant WBF featherweight title contest between Tello Lethabe from the Free State and Gauteng’s Rofhiwa Maemu.
In another WBF championship bout, Matshidiso Mokebisi from the Free State will defend her crown against Gauteng’s Melissa Miller in the junior featherweight class. There will also be a heavyweight six-rounder that will feature Justice Siliga from Gauteng against Jean Lutete Kamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo.