By Ron Jackson
Three vacant IBO titles will be at stake at Emperors Palace Casino in Kempton Park on Saturday night, with the grudge match between the unrelated Lovemore and Phillip Ndou heading the bill in a clash for the IBO welterweight belt. Promoter Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves has put together a bumper bill that has already been sold out. In a real needle match, Australian domiciled Lovemore Ndou (46-11-1, 31 KOs), a former IBF junior welterweight champion, meets Phillip Ndou (32-3, 31 KOs), a former SA featherweight and WBU junior lightweight champion. Both originate from the same area, but that is where the similarity ends.
Lovemore, who will be 38-years-old on August 16, made his professional debut on April 11, 1993 in Johannesburg with a four round points win over Enoch Khuzwayo and then won his next five fights before losing to Jeremiah Malinga.
After fighting to a disputed draw with Mthobeli Mhlope for the SA junior lightweight title in August 1995 he decided to campaign in Australia and has fought out of there since.
He then managed to put together an unbeaten streak of seventeen before losing on points to Guillermo Mosquera of Colombia in June 2000.
Fighting some of the best junior welterweights in the world, he lost decisions to Sharmba Mitchell, Miguel Cotto, and Junior Witter before going on to win the IBF junior welterweight belt in a brutal fight against Naoufel Rabah from Tunisa in February 2007 but lost it in his first defence against the slick Paul Malignaggi.
Since that loss he has won against Rafael Ortiz and lost to Malignaggi in a return match and in his most recent fight in November last year he took the highly rated Kermit Cintron all the way in losing on points over 12 rounds.
On paper, the taller Phillip’s record looks more impressive than Lovemore’s. However, he has not fought at the same level and when he met his first top rated opponent, Floyd Mayweather in November 2003. He was outclassed before being stopped in the seventh round.
After this setback he took on local rival Isaac Hlatshwayo for the SA lightweight title in May 2004 and after a gruelling contest he lost on a split decision.
However, after the contest he was taken to hospital and after being diagnosed with a cyst on the brain was advised to give up boxing. Subsequently after being inactive for nearly five years he had some further neurological tests and was declared fit enough to resume his boxing career.
In May this year in Saint-Quentin France coming in as a welterweight he had his first comeback fight against journeyman fighter Rachid Drizlane and in a rather lacklustre performance won on a fifth round technical knockout.
Despite the lay off this is an intriguing match-up with the odds favoring the more experienced Lovemore.
However, he has been in gruelling fights and at nearly 38 years old must be nearing the end of his career and one cannot discount the knockout power of Phillip.
In one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in recent years, two unbeaten prospects Tommy Oosthuizen and Jared Lovett meet for the newly created IBO light heavyweight youth title over 10 rounds.
At the pre-fight medical there was a lot needle between the two fighters and the fans are expecting an all out slugfest.
The southpaw Oosthuizen is the better boxer but one cannot discount the fighting heart of Lovett in a fight that could go either way.
In the third title fight on the bill, South African bantamweight champion Simphiwe Vetyeka (20-1, 11 KOs) faces the experienced but light punching Eric Barcelona (48-15-4, 18 KOs) from the Philippines for the vacant IBO bantamweight belt.
Barcelona was well beaten in his previous two visits to South Africa by Silence Mabuza and Mbwana Matumla and it is expected that the classy Vetyeka will be too skilful for the Filipino.
Also on the bill is the unbeaten junior flyweight Hekkie Budler who meets up with Khanyakunde Mukansi in a return match scheduled for eight rounds and in the opening bout of the night lightweights Thompson Makwena and Thulane Mbatha meet over four rounds. The officials for the Ndou versus Ndou fight are: Supervisor, Len Hunt, referee, Lulama Mtya (SA), and the judges are: Deon Dwarte (SA), David Moretti (USA) and Bruce McTavish (Philippines). The officials for the Vetyeka versus Barcelona match are: Supervisor, Charlie Payne (UK), referee: Roberto Ramirez (Puerto Rico), judges: Ace Makaluza (SA), David Moretti (USA) and Bruce McTavish (Philippines).