By Ron Jackson
Silence Mabuza returns to action after an absence of one year when he faces Yohnny Perez of Colombia in an IBF bantamweight title eliminator at the Springs Indoor Arena on Friday night. Perez 18-0; 13 who was born in Cartagena, Colombia but has fought out of America since he made his pro debut in July 2005 is a very real threat to Mabuza.
The 30-year-old Perez who is ranked at number six by the IBF won the vacant WBC Continental Americas bantamweight title when he knocked the capable Samuel Lopez at 2 minutes into the first round in May 2007 and since then has wins over Jose Laureano, Antonio Maria Cochero Diaz, Alexander Fedorov, Alex Beccera, Manuel Sarabia, Oscar Andrade (for the vacant NABF bantamweight title) and David Martinez.
The rangy Perez who will have a height and reach advantage over Mabuza, 32, has never had a problem making the bantamweight limit and is a good boxer-fighter with explosive power in his right hand.
The Colombian, who by fight time will have been in South Africa for two weeks, should have had plenty of time to acclimatise to the local conditions.
Mabuza 22-2; 18 had an extensive amateur career winning the SA bantamweight title in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He also represented South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpar in 1998, being eliminated in second series.
He made his professional debut on November 28, 1999 with a third round knockout win over Magic Hlongwe.
In only his eleventh professional fight he won the IBO bantamweight belt with a sixth round stoppage win over Jose Sanjuanelo.
After successful defences of the belt against Javier Torres, Julio Cesar Medina, Khulile Mabeka, Noel Wilders, Eric Barcelona and Cruz Carbajal he lost the belt to Rafael Marquez when challenging for IBF bantamweight title against Rafael Marquez.
In April 2006 Mabuza outpointed the capable Ricardo Vargas before losing a return bout to Marquez when his corner called the fight off at the end of the ninth round.
On May 12, 2007 he regained the IBO bantamweight belt when he stopped Mbwana Matumla and in 2008 made successful defences against Eden Sonsona and Damien Marchiano, both fights ending inside the distance.
Mabuza has fought at a higher level than Perez and should have the edge. However, he does have a leaky defence at times and could get caught by the power punching Colombian.
The tournament is presented by Branco Sports Productions.