Could Klassen be the next IBO world champ?

2013-05-12 14:00

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‘The Stone’ is determined to teach Australia’s Will Tomlinson a lesson in his own back yard on Thursday. Mawande Mvumvu reports.

Fighting in a foreign country has never been easy for boxers.

Usually there is only one way to win in a situation where a fighter goes out in front of a huge, hostile and noisy crowd.

Worse still, there have been incidents of decisions being unfairly influenced by home-turf judges.

These are factors former International Boxing Federation (IBF) super featherweight titleholder Malcolm “The Stone” Klassen will be thinking of in Australia on Thursday when he challenges International Boxing Organisation (IBO) super featherweight champion Will Tomlinson in his back yard.

A victory will see him become the sixth incumbent South African-born IBOworld champion.

“I’m well aware that to win in a foreign country you’ve got to KO your opponent,” said a confident Klassen this week.

“Having seen my opponent in video tapes of previous fights, he gets tired quickly and he will be very lucky to make it beyond 10 rounds against me.”

Klaasen has fought credible rivals like Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Cassius “Mr Shy Guy” Baloyi and Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelitsha” Fana.

The Stone says: “That boy will never beat me in his wildest dreams. He has been fighting guys from the graveyard.”

The 31-year-old Klassen has every reason to be confident because Tomlinson, despite his unblemished record in 20 fights, is very inexperienced.

He turned professional in 2008, nine years after Klassen turned pro, and this could play a huge role in determining the results of the fight.

In all his professional bouts, Tomlinson has never fought outside Australia and his comfort zone is well developed there.

“There’s nothing special about him. He’s been protected to become Australia’s next boxing superstar and I’m taking that away from him come Thursday,” said Klassen.

The Australian has a 57% rate of KOs in 126 rounds of his career, which is better than Klassen’s 41% in 214 rounds.

Klassen insists this will not have any impact on the result as he aims to use his speed to frustrate and out-box the 26-year-old Aussie.

Another local boxer, Sipho “Tsunami” Taliwe is scheduled to defend his World Boxing Council international super featherweight title against Australian Matt Garlett on the same bill.

Taliwe last defended his crown in September when his absolute dominance of the contest humiliated tried-and-tested former super featherweight world champion Fana.

“Unfortunately, Garlett is not in my league. The fight will not last more than three rounds,” predicted Taliwe.

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