DURBAN – South African boxing fans will hope to witness another heroic moment in the sport that has taken a nosedive in the popularity stakes.
Following Moruti Mthalane’s second successful defence of his IBF flyweight belt in Tokyo last month, Thulani ‘Tulz’ Mbenge is fired up to become the second boxer to fly the South African flag high when he defends his IBO welterweight crown on July 6.
The 27-year-old Mdantsane-born fighter will be jetting off to Germany to put his unbeaten record to the test against challenger Sebastian Formella in Hamburg.
A glance at his boxing career shows that Mbenge is something of a knockout specialist.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and reigning South African male boxer of the year, has 12 wins inside the distance in 15 fights and is yet to taste defeat in his professional career.
He has big victories under his belt after defeating credible pugilists like Diego Cruz, Miguel Vasques and Gabriel Chaves, to name a few.
Mbenge told Independent Media he understood the importance of his upcoming fight and knows it won’t be a walk in the park.
His opponent, from Lauensburg, Schleswig-holstein, is the WBO European champion.
Formella (32) is also undefeated with a record of 20-0-0.
This will be Mbenge’s first trip outside South Africa as a professional boxer. Previously, he represented South Africa internationally at amateur level before turning professional in 2015.
The former SA national and ABU champion has just returned from camp and he spoke about his readiness to take on the German.
“I am feeling great; it's been a good camp where we took our time. I am happy with what we have right now.”
Commenting on his maiden professional trip outside of South Africa, the fist machine said: “Yes it’s my first time as a pro, but it will not shock my system because I fought overseas as an amateur.
“The fans must expect an explosive fight. I am feeling good, so I expect a positive result.”
Thulani Mbenge vs Diego Chavez pic.twitter.com/Dfa3AhNoLO— Thulani Tulz Mbenge (@MbengeTulz) August 14, 2018
Mbenge last fought in December 2018. The upcoming bout will be his second defence of the IBO belt that he claimed when he defeated Argentinean Diego Gabriel Chavez in round seven in June 2018 at Emperors Palace.
His first successful defence was against Mexican Miguel Vazquez, whom he conquered with a ninth-round stoppage.