By Ron Jackson
Evans Mbamaba returns to action for the first time since October 2012 when he faces Mario Briones of Mexico for the vacant World Boxing Federation junior featherweight belt at the Graceland Hotel Casino in Secunda, Mpumalanga on Saturday night. The 31-year-old Mbamba 18-3; 9 from Duduza in Gauteng won the vacant WBC International super flyweight title in November 2006 when he outscored the vastly experienced Zolile Mbityi and made successful defences against Pedro Cardenas (tko 11), Unathi Gqokoma (pts 12) and Devid Lookmahanak (ko7).
However, after these successes he lost three of his next fights four, the losses coming against quality fighters like Tomas Rojas for the interim WBC super flyweight title, Vic Darchinyan for the IBO bantamweight belt and in his most recent fight he lost on a majority decision against Minyakhe Sityatha in a challenge for the South African junior bantamweight title.
Briones 24-3-1; 18 who was born Mario Alberto Briones Leos on January 11, 1986 and fights out Aguascalientes, Mexico made his pro debut in April 2009. He remained undefeated in his next 18 fights before capturing the vacant WBC FECOMBOX super bantamweight title in June 2011 when he knocked out Carlos Fernando Perez Martinez in the ninth round.
However, the 27-year-old Briones subsequently lost three of his next five fights before getting on the winning track again with victories over Ivan Morelos, Jesus Ceja and Ramon Maas. All the wins were inside the distance.
This appears to be an evenly matched contest, but the southpaw South African will have to be careful of Briones’s power in his right hand.
On the same card Gabisile Tshabalala of South Africa meets Australia’s Shannon O’Connell for the vacant WBF women’s featherweight title.
Other bouts; Lightweight, 4 rounds: Willis Baloyi vs Mpho Babe; Junior middleweight, 4 rounds: Alfonso Tissen vs Vusi Bilankulu; Junior Welterweight, 6 rounds: Botisepe Mandawe vs Mastercard Manglaza; Lightweight, 6 rounds: Shannon Strydom vs Tshifhiwa Timer Munyai; Super middleweight, 6 rounds: Vhonani Netshidamboni vs Simon Mokwana.
The tournament is presented by Thinus Strydom of World Sport Promotions.