JOHANNESBURG – Boxing fans are in for some absorbing action at Emperors Palace on Saturday when Golden Gloves presents an African Boxing Union cruiserweight clash featuring Thabiso Mchunu and Johnny Muller.
This fight, on a bill which has been titled ‘Hurtin’ for Certain’ is traditionally a stepping stone to a WBC rating.
Mchunu has fought world championships and title eliminators and he’s taking this match-up against Muller just as seriously, especially as he needs to work his way back into major contention.
“The truth is there isn’t enough to go around in SA boxing,” said trainer Sean Smith. “This is a crossroads fight for both boxers. There’s no room to lose.”
Mchunu wrapped up sparring on Friday and was breathing easily after 10 rounds, satisfying Smith that his fighter had worked hard in the past eight weeks.
“Johnny will try and get him tired, but he’ll make mistakes along the way. Thabiso is super-accurate and he’ll pounce. I’m excited to see some changes he’ll bring . . . he’s ready for a good fight. Johnny always comes to fight; we’ll take him into the deep end,” Smith promised.
He agrees that Mchunu’s losses in his major fights – to Junior Makabu and Oleksandr Usyk – stalled his title ambitions, but says he still has enough in the tank to become a contender again.
“A loss on the world stage isn’t necessarily detrimental. You can re-establish yourself. But you don’t want to be losing at domestic level, which is why winning is so important on Saturday.
“Thabiso is good enough. He’s in the right head space and has good energy. He’s ready for business and knows that a win will open doors.”
Mchunu’s last fight was in December when he was stopped by Usyk in a challenge for the WBO belt in California, USA. Muller, meanwhile, is coming off a stoppage win of Herman Potgieter.