By Ron Jackson
Thabiso Mchunu from Cato Ridge in Pietermaritzburg makes the third defence of his South African junior heavyweight title when he meets the experienced Rueben Groenewald at the Bloemfontein City Hall on Friday night. Mchunu who has only had seven fights winning them all inside the distance, won the vacant SA junior heavyweight title in his fourth fight with a ninth round stoppage against Patrick Madzinga in February 2008. He made a successful defence against Sean Santana before capturing the WBA Pan African junior heavyweight title when he knocked out Marciano Commey from Ghana in 32 seconds of the first round. In May last year he stopped the experienced Soon Botes in the eighth round to retain the SA and WBA Pan African titles.
The 32-year-old Groenewald 23-7-3; 10 who has held the African Boxing Union junior middleweight, WBU middleweight, British Masters super middleweight and World Boxing Foundation Intercontinental super middleweight titles in his 14 year professional career has fought at a much higher level than the 21-year-old Mchunu.
Groenewald is pretty rugged customer and his only inside the distance loss was against Carl Froch in December 2005 when he was stopped in five rounds. The unbeaten Froch is the current WBC super middleweight champion.
Groenewald who campaigned in England for eight years had his licence withdrawn at one time by the British Boxing Board because of asthma
In his most recent fight in December last year Groenewald had to come back from a knockdown in the first minute of his fight against Ronnie Lategan before getting up to stop Lategan at 1 minute 44 seconds into the round.
Groenewald has the edge in experience over the young Mchunu but can he keep him out for 12 rounds.
The tournament is presented by Blacky Seou Promotions.
Promoter Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Productions has announced that the 21-year-old Zolani Tete 12-0; 11 will meet Paul Garcia from the Philippines in an IBF flyweight title eliminator at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on February 26.
Should Tete win the fight it will set up an intriguing match-up against fellow South African Moruti Mthalane who holds the IBF flyweight belt.