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‘The title must come back home,’ says Kenyan Rayton Okwiri ahead of ESPN Africa Boxing 18

FILE - Jabulani Makhense in action during the ESPN Africa Boxing 15 fight night in Johannesburg in March. Photo: Barry Aldworth /WBSA

FILE - Jabulani Makhense in action during the ESPN Africa Boxing 15 fight night in Johannesburg in March. Photo: Barry Aldworth /WBSA

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Johannesburg — Boxing fans across Africa can look forward to some action when ESPN Africa Boxing 18 takes place in Johannesburg next week.

Sanctioned by Boxing South Africa (BSA) and IBF, this event will be headlined by a 12-round match for the IBF international junior middleweight title between the DRC's Emmany Kalombo (15-1-0) and Kenyan Rayton Okwiri (7-0-1).

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Known as 'The General', Kalombo was last in action in April, defeating Malawian Chikondi Makawa via third-round technical knockout in Soweto. The unbeaten Okwiri, meanwhile, is making a much-anticipated return to the ring. In his most recent fight, in October last year, Okwiri knocked out John Serunjogu of Uganda in a middleweight non-title fight in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The former African Boxing Union middleweight title holder is determined to put a major belt around his waist once again.

“I have done it in the past and it’ll not be any different this time round. This is a big fight for me and the title must come back home as I’m serious about winning it,” Okwiri explained.

Kalombo, however, feels that things will go differently.

“I have known Okwiri as an amateur boxer for a long time and I’m gonna chop him down and stop him from taking the title."

The co-main event is a 10-round welterweight clash between South Africa's Thulani Mbenge (18-1-0) and Idd Pialari of Tanzania (30-7-1). Mbenge was last in action a year ago, claiming an impressive third-round knockout win over Jabulani Makhense. Pialari broke a losing streak by defeating Chimwemwe Chiotcha via unanimous decision in February this year.

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MAIN EVENT ESPN AFRICA BOXING 18 FIGHT CARD

IBF International Junior Middleweight Title: Emmany Kalombo (DRC 15-1-0) v Rayton Okwiri (KEN, 7-0-1)

Welterweight: Thulani Mbenge (SA, 18-1-0) v Idd Pialari (TAN, 30-7-1)

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Super Flyweight: Sikho Nqothole (SA, 14-2-0) v Selemani Bangaiza (TAN, 12-7-0)

Welterweight: Jabulani Makhense (SA, 12-1-0) v Paul Kamanga (DRC, 23-2-0)

Super Lightweight: Gift Bholo (SA, 9-11-0) v Hannock Phiri (MAL, 14-0-1)

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