Johannesburg - Just how good is Deejay “The Real” Kriel in the ring?
This will be answered when the man, billed as South Africa’s budding golden boy of the ring, collides with Filipino Dexter “Kidmama” Alimento for the vacant World Boxing Council international minimumweight title at Emperors Palace this afternoon.
Many have lauded Kriel’s punching power. He has disposed of his foes so impressively that his promoter, Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves, says the youngster possesses all the hallmarks of a world champion.
To show how seriously The Real is taken, he has been earmarked to follow in the footsteps of his stablemate Hekkie “Hexecutioner” Budler, who holds the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) light-flyweight crown.
But against Alimento, Kriel will most likely face the stiffest test of his boxing career – he will be slugging it out with an opponent with similar ring credentials.
Boxers from the Philippines are widely regarded as tough customers, renowned for coming forward and dictating the pace of the bout. Alimento is no exception.
But The Real, whose only blemish is a points defeat suffered at the hands of Colin Tloubatla in his professional debut at Gold Reef City in 2014, will rely on his speed to overcome Alimento.
Kriel, who is trained by Colin Nathan, was in his element when he defeated Xolisa Magusha by a unanimous points decision at Emperors Palace in April.
Against Alimento, The Real will have a vociferous Emperors crowd behind him. But Kidmama will be hellbent on making sure the bout does not go the full distance.
He stopped journeyman Rodel Tejares in the sixth round in Bukidnon, the Philippines, in March.
Also featured on the Golden Gloves Amabhungu Ak’sasa bill will be the recently crowned International Boxing Federation (IBF) youth featherweight champion, Lerato Dlamini, who will face Thembani Hobyane over eight rounds.
There will be five more bouts on the card for the tournament.
On Friday, Gideon “Hardcore” Buthelezi will defend his IBO junior bantamweight title against Ryan Rey Ponteras from the Philippines, at the International Convention Centre in East London.
The main supporting fight in the Xaba Promotion & Events extravaganza will be for the vacant IBF intercontinental junior featherweight crown, featuring Ludumo Lamati, who will meet Colombian Luis Melendez.
The other fight will be the vacant IBF intercontinental bantamweight clash between Cape Town-based Mzuvukile “Old Bones” Magwaca and Nicaraguan Yesner Talavera.
In a local derby involving boxers from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Siphamandla Baleni will put his South African mini-flyweight belt on the line against Bangile Nyangani.
Other fights to look forward to:
Yanga Sigqibo vs Mfundo Gwayana (junior bantamweight, eight rounds); Sikho Nqothole vs Saul Hlungwani (junior bantamweight, six rounds); Uyanda Nogogo vs Khakhathi Ramuntshi (welterweight, six rounds).