By Gilbert Munetsi
Harare - The vacant South African light heavyweight title will finally have a winner by end of night on September 28 when Number one contender Nicholas Radley takes on Khayeni Hlungwane in a Cape Town v Gauteng boxing derby at the Castle of Good Hope.
The 12-round contest makes the main draw card of a tournament under the Friday Fight Night series, which is bankrolled by Kalakoda Promotions in partnership with Kwese Sport and in conjunction with First Nations. It has befittingly been titled “Kings of the Castle”.
According to the promoters, the September 28 event falls within an arrangement that is a fixed calendar of broadcast boxing dates staged at different African cities on the last Friday of each month. Next month (October) they are in Lagos after which they return to Harare at the end of November.
Cape Town based Radley, who boasts of a 100% KO rate, was initially supposed to fight Frank Rodrigues on October 27, but finds himself up against a different opponent altogether and on a fast-forwarded date.
And should he triumph over the Jo’burger, he will become a dual champion, after also having won the World Boxing Federation-Africa title back in November 2017 when he beat fellow countryman Makhosandile Zwengu.
Winning the forthcoming match makes Radley add Hlungwane as yet another statistic to his casualties list of many others who have fallen by the wayside and these include Unathi Ndlebe, Prince Nkwankwu, Patrick Ngadu, Peter Mbowa and Rams Ilunga.
“I can’t wait to get in there and mix it with Hlungwane, he is an experienced campaigner and I’ll have to be at my best on the 28th – this will be a real test for me, but I’m ready and up for the challenge and this fight will bring out the best in me,” said Radley in an interview from Cape Town this week.
The opponent was equally upbeat, telling The Southern Times, “I look forward to this fight because my team and I are coming to Cape Town to turn the Radley dream into a nightmare. We will be taking the strap back home, that I guarantee.”
The light heavyweight title has a lot of history as it was held by boxing legends such as Kosie Smith and Piere Fourie, both of who went on to compete at the world level. It (title) forms a rite of passage to be king of the division domestically and rank positioning internationally.
Meanwhile, the co-main event sees crowd favourite David Rajuili take on Namibia’s Albinus “Danny Boy” Felesianu for the vacant ABU SADC super lightweight title.
Sources say Rajuili called out Felesianu on social media and the latter accepted the challenge, and after swift negotiations Kalakoda Promotions agreed to make the fight happen. It has all the ingredients of a very competitive match up as the two former sparring partners know each other well and will be keen to get one over, with insults and jibes going back on forth already.
Apart from having a home crowd in his corner, 29-year-old Raijuli (W11-KO3; L8; D1) will be drawing a lot of inspiration from previous similar grand challenges. He captured the WBF super featherweight title in 2016 and had a futile shot at the ABU title back in May 2017, but lost on a majority points decision.
The remainder of the September 28 card features 2017 SA prospect of the year and ABU lightweight champion, Lunga Sitemela, in an 8-round contest with Thembani Hobyani.
WBF-Africa featherweight champion Baby Jake Mbangatha takes on Tanzanian hard man Hamish Galuka in a non-title bout and an exciting International heavyweight match will cap the night up between Cameroon’s Nico Yamdjie and Slovenian prospect Haris Aksalic.
Kalakoda Promotions’ long history of focussing on the bigger divisions has seen the company bring out Aksalic to South Africa to work under the tutelage of James Ali Basheer.
“This event is going to be epic, open air boxing and in one of oldest buildings of Africa with Table Mountain as a backdrop. We have an awesome fight card, with representation from across Africa as well as some local favourites. I urge fight fans not to miss out simply because this will be an event not to be missed,” said Jeremy Bean the Operations Director at Kalakoda.