By Ron Jackson
South African bantamweight champion Toto Helebe and his mandatory challenger Cebo Ngema both weighed inside the limit of 118 lbs. at Thursday’s weigh-in ahead of their fight on Friday night at the Tsogo Cape Sun in Cape Town. Helebe, Cape Town’s lone surviving national champion who will be making a second title defense, weighed in at 116.8. Ngema, from Gauteng, was a fraction heavier at 117.2.
Ngema and his trainer Thabiso Koetle had just arrived in Cape Town, an hour earlier. They seemed rather surprised by the large turn-out of boxing fans at the public weigh-in. “It looks like Helebe has got the Cape Town fans behind him but we have news for them; we have just come to take the championship belt away from him,” said Koetle. “We’ve come in at just under the limit, and that’s how we wanted it to be. Helebe will be a shattered man at the end of the fight, and the judges won’t rescue him this time out.”
Helebe’s trainer Teach Madubedube said his charge will use the fight to enhance his reputation as one of the country’s best pound-for-pound boxers.
The main supporting bout boxers, Lwandiso Gugushe and Simphiwe Tom, also tipped the scales inside the junior lightweight limit of 130 lbs. They will be fighting for the vacant Western Cape title. Gugushe came in at 129.4 while Tom weighed at 129.3.
There are four undercard bouts as well as two white-collar events to start of the evening’s bill.