Flo Simba (left) and Thabiso Mchunu are ready for their Nashua Cruiserweight Super 8 bout at Emperors Palace. Picture: Etienne Rothbart

Johannesburg - When referee Tony Nyangiwe inexplicably jumped in to stop the clash between Thabiso Mchunu and Flo Simba in the first round, the Mchunu camp led by chief trainer Sean Smith broke into wild celebrations.

The celebrations underlined the rivalry between the camps of the two fighters - Simba is trained by Harold Volbrecht - especially as Mchunu was seen as a rebel after he had left Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) that promotes Simba and staged the fight.

After the formalities, such as the lodging of the protest about Nyangiwe’s conduct have been completed, the two fighters will have to do it again at Emperors Palace on September 22 in the penultimate round of the Nashua Cruiserweight Super 8 series.

The second semi-final will see hot favourite Zack Mwekassa taking on Danie Venter while Hekkie Budler faces Filipino Florante Condes in an IBO mini-flyweight title defence.

Mzonke Fana and Sipho Taliwe will do battle for the WBC international junior lightweight title and Jonny Muller opposes Ryno Liebenberg for the IBO Africa light-heavyweight crown.

But it is the rematch between Mchunu and Simba that has assumed the role of a must-see affair because of the controversial nature of the first fight.

And with a potential clash against Mwekassa looming in the finals of the series on November 10, stakes have been upped in this return fight.

Smith says Mchunu had no problem accepting the rematch and denies that there was a heated argument with GGP boss Rodney Berman over the rematch order.

“We took the rematch order without fuss because we have no doubt that we will beat Simba again,” Smith says.

Indeed, Mchunu appeared to be cruising to a stoppage victory anyway before Nyangiwe’s actions spoiled it with his overzealous actions.

He will enter the rematch as favourite to put the matter beyond doubt even though he will have to double his efforts to impress the judges against the more popular Simba should the fight go the distance.

Mchunu, 23, who has fought only 11 times - with his single loss coming from Mwekassa - is a novice on paper but his body of work is impressive, having beaten credible opposition such as Venter, Daniel Bruwer, Ruben Groenewald and Soon Botes in that short period of time. He was leading on points when he cramped, forcing him to bail out in the sixth round.

“There is nothing we would love more than getting a rematch with Mwekassa to set the record straight,” Smith says.

“This is why this rematch is so important, because it will give us a chance to face Mwekassa if he beats Venter.”

The Star