By: Ron Jackson
Zolani Marali will be determined to get his career back on track when he meets Mlungisi Dlamini in a clash for the vacant IBO lightweight belt at Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Marali (20-3; 13) who has won a South African title and four organization belts lost his IBO junior lightweight belt in September this year when he was stopped by the South Korean Ji Hoon Kim.
He needs to be at the top of his game against the 27-year-old Dlamini (21-0-1; 13) who is a skilled operator.
Promoter Rodney Berman has put together an exciting undercard with three international titles at stake and the debut of the highly touted junior heavyweight Flo Simba. After Marali’s loss to Kim it was hinted that it came about because he had been battling to make the weight.
Dlamini from KwaZulu Natal won the vacant World Boxing Foundation lightweight belt in March 2007 when he knocked out Ivan Orlando Bustos.
He has made successful defences against Jairo Demoura Dos Santos, Diego Martin, Gairy St Clair and in April this year he was unimpressive in scoring a 12 round points decision over Francisco Lorenzo from the Dominican Republic.
Both fighters will have to improve on their performances in their most recent fights, but the younger Dlamini should have the edge against his taller opponent.
Thomas Oosthuizen (9-0; 7) faces the stiffest test of his career when he meets South African super middleweight champion Tshepang Mohale (7-2; 6) in a clash for the vacant WBA Pan African super middleweight title.
One must question the wisdom of putting the promising young Oosthuizen in with the rugged Mohale who has just come off an upset win over Kgotso Motau for the South African title.
Malawian Isaac Chilembe (13-1; 8) who is based in South Africa will also be tested when he challenges Doudou Ngumbu (20-0; 9) from the DRC for the WBC International light heavyweight title. Ngumbu is based in France.
Junior flyweight Hekkie Budler (13-0; 4) defends his IBO All Africa title against Motswaki Moselesele from the Free State who has a record of (5-1; 2) as reported on Boxrec (it has also been reported as 8-1). He was stopped in five by Mfundo Gwayana in November last year when challenging for the SA junior flyweight title.
In the opening bout of the evening Flo Simba meets Bernard Vance in a junior heavyweight bout scheduled for four rounds.