By Ron Jackson
WBA Pan African super bantamweight champion Tshifiwe ‘Atomic Spider’ Munyai has been replaced by Evans Mbamba in the headline bout on the Chesanyama bill on Saturday, 29 June, at Graceland Casino, Secunda. Munyai has been medically advised to lay off for six weeks, and has been forced to withdraw from the 29 June event after his gruelling fight with Emmanuel Quartey in Cathcart, Eastern Cape on June 1.
Mpumalanga southpaw Evans Mbamba will now meet Mexico’s Mario Briones for the vacant WBF junior featherweight title, in a bout scheduled for 12 rounds.
Mbamba, 31, is a vastly experienced campaigner and has made three challenges for WBC titles (international and interim) as well the IBO championship.
The Nick Durant-trained fighter has won 18 fights with 9 coming inside the distance, and only lost 3.
Briones, 27, has a record of 28 fights, with three defeats and a draw. He’s something of a knock-out specialist since 18 of his 24 wins were inside the distance.
Thinus Strydom, who will be promoting the Chesanyama bill, said he was sorry that Munyai will not be up for the WBF title shot.
The WBA post-fight report said that he has been subjected to a fair amount of punishment in his win over Ghana’s Emmanuel Quartey.
“We’ve been fortunate to recruit Mbamba who is deserving of a crack at a world title,” said Strydom. “He’s has some close calls in previous championship bouts outside the country, but hopefully he’ll do better on home soil. “This is special tournament for me because in all my years as a boxing promoter, I’ve never had a boxer from my province feature in the headline bout.
“Mbamba is my home boy and he’ll enjoy great support from all in Mpumalanga.”
World Boxing Federation President, Howard Goldberg, was delighted with the appointment of Mbamba and his opponent Briones.
“We are very pleased with the credentials of the two boxers who will challenge for the belt,” said Goldberg. “Both are worthy challengers, and Mbamba deserves a title shot because he’s probably done even better than his record suggests. Briones, well, he’s as tough as the Mexicans come.”
There will be more for South Africans to cheer about in the other WBF title bout, which pits the East Rand talent Gabisile ‘Simply the Best’ Tshabalala against Australia’s Shannon O’Connel. Their WBF women’s featherweight title bout is scheduled for 10 rounds.
The full bill reads:
Lightweight, 4 rounds: Willis Baloyi vs Mpho Babe
Junior middleweight, 4 rounds: Alfonso Tissen vs Vusi Bilankkulu
Junior Welterweight, 6 rounds: Botisepe Mandawe vs Mastercard Manglaza
Lightweight, 6 rounds: Shannon Strydom vs Tshifhiwa ‘Timer’ Munyai
Super middlewieght, 6 rounds: Vhonani Netshidamboni vs Simon Mokwana