By Ron Jackson
Zolani Marali makes the first defence of his World Boxing Federation junior welterweight belt when he faces South African junior welterweight champion Mzolisi Yoyo at the Orient Theatre in East London on Sunday afternoon. The two veterans are both from Mdantsane.
The 36-year-old Marali who made his debut in 2001 has collected the SA junior featherweight, IBO junior featherweight, World Boxing Foundation junior featherweight and junior lightweight, IBO lightweight and World Boxing Federation belts along the way.
The talented southpaw who is trained by Alan Toweel Jr won the SA junior featherweight title in only his tenth fight and has been in with some of the best fighters in the junior lightweight division before moving up to junior welterweight in November 2011 to meet Ali Funeka for the vacant World Boxing Federation belt.
In a closely fought contest Marali who has a record of 22-5; 13 lost on a disputed decision.
However, in a return bout on December 8, 2012 he gained revenge when he outpointed Funeka to claim his fifth world belt.
The challenger also 36-years old has had many periods of inactivity since making his pro debut in 1995 but has persevered and went on to win the South African junior welterweight title in December 2011 with a points victory over Sikhulule Sidzumo. He has made six successful defences.
In his most recent defence in June this year against Luyando Jako he also won the vacant WBF Intercontinental junior welterweight title to take his record to 21 wins and 4 losses with 16 wins coming inside the distance.
The pair are evenly matched in a fight that should go to a decision either way.
In the main supporting bout 23-year-old Xolisani Ndongeni 10-0; 6 from DuncanVillage near East London defends his South African junior lightweight title against the 37-year-old veteran Themba Tschicila from Mdantsane.
Ndongeni who made his pro debut on May 29, 2010 with a four round points win over Luyanda Vumazonke won the South African title on April 28 this year when he oupointed the vastly more experienced Godfrey Nzimande over 12 round in East London.
The southpaw Tschicila 25-10-3; 7 who is ranked at number seven in the most recent Boxing SA ratings will be having his fifth crack at trying to win a South African title.
In previous attempts he lost to Sandile Mentile, Innocent Mthalane, Ali Funeka and Ludumo Galada all inside the distance.
However, he has won his last four fights and could take the champion all the way.
The tournament is presented by Ayanda Matiti of Xaba Boxing Promotions.