Johannesburg - Simpiwe “V12” Vetyeka is set to return to the ring on October 21, after almost 18 months of inactivity.
The 37-year-old fighter from the Eastern Cape was unified South Africa’s first world champion.
He will meet Lerato Dlamini in 10 rounds of the top-liner of Golden Gloves’ featherweight clash at Emperors Palace. The bout is one of two in a series dubbed the Four go to War.
The fight was announced exclusively to City Press at the promoting body’s offices in Rosebank this week.
Vetyeka last fought in April last year, where he outpointed Tsuyoshi Tameda of Japan in 10 rounds in a featherweight bout.
Another bout in the same division will feature Tshifhiwa “Atomic Spider” Munyai and Azinga “Golden Boy” Fuzile.
According to promoter Rodney Berman, the winners of each bout will slug it out against one another in February for a stake in a R500 000 purse. The victor will walk away with R300 000, while the loser will take home R200 000.
“The overall winner of the series will fight in the US at a date yet to be disclosed,” said Berman.
He said the victors of the Four go to War bouts would get R175 000 each.
Vetyeka put his boxing career on the map by uniting the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) and the World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight crowns. He stopped Indonesia’s Chris John in the sixth round at Metro City in Northbridge, Australia, in 2013.
So good was V12 on the night that an embarrassed John subsequently retired from boxing.
Vetyeka had won the IBO belt from Daud Yordan – also from Indonesia – by a seventh-round stoppage at Indoor Tennis Stadium in Jakarta eight months earlier. He lost it to Filipino Nonito Donaire by a technical decision at Cotai Arena, Macao, in May 2014.
The fighter lifted the then vacant WBA international diadem by outpointing Mexican Arturo Santos Reyes at the Orient Theatre in East London later that year, but was stripped of his crown after failing to defend it within nine months.
Now, Vetyeka believes he is back in the reckoning and ready to prove that he is not past his prime.
“I still have a lot to offer, and will prove to my fans in my next fight that I’m still good,” said Vetyeka, who has an impressive record of 29 wins and three losses from 32 fights.
“I may have been out of action for too long, but I will prove that I’m the country’s best featherweight,” he added.
V12 said he was happy to be given the chance to feature in the event.
He meets a novice in Dlamini, who has had nine wins and one defeat from 10 bouts.
Dlamini said: “I’m looking forward to winning the series and fighting in the US. I’m aware that my record doesn’t speak volumes, compared with my opponent’s.”
Munyai and Fuzile’s bout is set to provide fireworks – it will be experience against youth. Munyai is a seasoned campaigner with 28 wins, four defeats and one loss from 33 starts, while Fuzile has won all his eight professional bouts.
The rest of the bill includes a World Boxing Council international straw weight title between champion DeeJay Kriel and Nkosinathi Joyi, and a super middleweight bout between Patrick Mukala and Ryno Liebenberg.