By Ron Jackson
Championship boxing returns to Emperors Palace, Kempton Park on Saturday night with two world title fights, an IBO All Africa title fight and the eagerly waited cruiserweight Super 8 final. Heading the bill is the final of the Super 8 which will also be for the vacant African Boxing Union cruiserweight title, between Danie Venter and Thabiso Mchunu. The 33-year-old Venter (14-5, 10 KOs) and the 24-year-old Mchunu (12-1, 10 KOs) both former South African champions will be meeting in a return match. In June 2011 Mchunu outpointed Venter over eight rounds but he will be facing a different and more motivated Venter this time.
Venter an outstanding amateur who represented South Africa at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth games where he won a bronze medal never really impressed as a professional until the Super 8.
Mchunu made an explosive start to his career winning his first eight fights inside the distance before going 12 rounds against Daniel Bruwer in November 2010.
Venter has spent hours on the road and the gym and for the first time since he joined then professional ranks in March 2003 he has got himself into top condition and smashed one of the favourites in the competition Zack Mwekassa to defeat in four rounds in September this year.
The shorter Mchunu who fights from the southpaw stance has explosive power but will have to get past the long reach of Venter who likes to drop in the powerful right to the jaw against left handers.
This is pick-em fight that could go either way.
In the co-feature Tommy Oosthuizen (20-0-1, 13 KOs) makes the sixth defense of his IBO super middleweight belt against the experienced Fulgencio Zuniga (25-5-1, 22 KOs) of Barranquilla, Colombia. The southpaw Oosthuizen, 24, who made his pro debut in February 2008 won the vacant IBO belt in March 2011 when he stopped Evert Bravo in nine rounds and seems to have lost his knockout power since then as he has only won two of his last six fights inside the distance. Fulgencio, 35, an eleven year pro won the vacant IBO super middleweight belt in September 2007 when he stopped Victor Organov who was 26-0 at the time, in the ninth round. He has also been in distance fights with world champions Denis Inkin, Lucien Bute and Tavoris Cloud. The odds are that this fight will also go the distance with Oosthuizen being extended all the way.
South Africa’s Gideon Buthelezi (12-3, 4 KOs) will be hoping to get his career back on track when he faces the more experienced Filipino Edrin Dapudong (27-4, 15 KOs) in a clash for the vacant IBO junior bantamweight belt. In September last year Buthelezi, 26, was smashed to defeat inside two rounds by Mexican Adrian Hernandez when challenging for the WBC light flyweight belt. Dapudong, also 26 years old, was stopped in three rounds by Hernan “Tyson” Marquez in July 2011, but has scored victories over Joanthan Ricablanca (4-31-2), Dondon Jimenea (27-17-4) and Nelson Llanos (22-28-3) in his last three fights.
The big punching Ryno Liebenberg (9-0, 6 KOs) should keep his unbeaten record when he meets Donald Kampamaba (6-3-1, 0 KOs) in a bout for the IBO All Africa light heavyweight title.
Also on this exciting bill promoted by Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions Vusi Balinkulu clashes with Allan Bouwer over four rounds in the junior welterweight division.