By Ron Jackson
Chris van Heerden makes the first defense of his South African welterweight title against Welcome Ntshingila on Friday night at the Matlosana Banquet Hall in Klerksdorp. The southpaw Van Heerden 11-0-1; 9 won the vacant South African title in December last year when he stopped Page Tshesane in the twelfth round in a bruising encounter.
Van Heerden who was the Boxing SA Prospect of the Year for 2007 made his pro debut in September 2006 with second round stoppage win over Lucky Mavimbela and followed this up with wins over Rodney Nedfumbada and Keketso Mathaba.
The year 2007 was a very successful year for Van Heerden as he scored stoppage wins over Moses Mbowane, John Mokgotsa, Luntu Kosana, George Mapalakane and Mpho Tshiambara, with the only blot on his record a six round draw with Page Tshesane.
In 2008 he continued on his unbeaten path with a points decision over Msisi Qwabe and won the vacant African Boxing Union title when he stopped Hassan Saku from Uganda in the eighth round and then won the South African welterweight title.
Ntshingila 16-7-3; 5 who is the number one contender in the most recent Boxing SA rankings is a seasoned campaigner who can extend the champion.
He joined the professional ranks in March 2002 with points win over Lovelace Zwane and has been in with some tough opponents like Patrick Mthembu, Alvin Mahonisi and Gerald Dike who all beat him on points.
In April 2005 he lost to Joseph Makaringe on a sixth round stoppage when challenging for the South African welterweight title. However, he was still on his feet at the time and fighting back in a controversial stoppage.
In June 2008 he was outpointed by Ali Nuumbembe in a close encounter for the WBA Pan African light middleweight title and in September of the same year, in Australia lost to Daniel Dawson who was 31-1 at the time in a challenge for the vacant PABA light middleweight title and in his most recent fight he scored a six rounds points decision over Sicelo Mzobe.
This is a pick-em fight and it is quite possible we could see a new champion.
Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Promotions who is the promoter of this fight has also announced that Silence Mabuza 22-2; 18 will defend his IBO bantamweight belt against Yonnhy Perez of Colombia 18-0; 13 on April 18 in Johannesburg.