Undoubtedly the best boxing promoter in Africa, Golden Gloves Promotions will once again stage the first major boxing event on the continent for this year on Saturday at Emperors Palace.
The “Danger Zone”, as the occasion has been named, will see 10 boxers in five bouts stepping into the square jungle at own risk in what promises to be an exhilarating night of boxing.
Five local boys will hope to use the home advantage against their opponents, of which four come from overseas countries and one from Ghana.
But then again, in boxing home advantage is more or less insignificant as over the years we have witnessed those opposed by hostile crowds of spectators coming out victorious.
Hotbox’s trio – Hekkie “The Hexecutioner” Budler, Kevin “KO Kid” Lerena and Ryno “The Lion” Liebenberg – under the guidance of trainer Colin Nathan will be in the spotlight for the night.
Budler will make his third title defence of the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) minimumweight championship in the main bout against Renan Trongco from Philippines.
On paper, the former IBO All-Africa light flyweight champion looks destined to cruise to victory against the inexperienced Trongco, but upsets are regular in boxing.
There is no better testimony to this than the Manny Pacquiao and Juan Marquez December 2012 contest, where against all odds Marquez surprised the boxing fraternity and knocked out cold the favoured Filipino in round six.
Having joined the Golden Gloves Promotions stable last year, cruiserweight power-puncher Ilunga Makabu will fight for the first time under the banner when he collides with Paraguayan Gogita Gorgiladze in pursuit of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) youth cruisersweight title.
The 19-year-old Gorgiladze is the youngest of all featured boxers on the bill and is six years younger than his opponent.
This is his chance to keep going with his undefeated streak, but the DRC-born and now South African-based Makabu will not be a walk in the park as someone who has tasted victory against tried and tested Danie Venter.
Makabu is also a promising cruiserweight prospect mentored by decorated trainer Harold Volbrecht.
Undefeated Ryno Liebenberg will go toe to toe with comparatively unknown Flash Issaka from Ghana in a quest to defend his IBO All-Africa light heavyweight title.
An advantage to Liebenberg is that he is in good shape and has been a regular in the ring as one of the few local boxers blessed with action.
This will be his fourth competitive brawl in seven months.
In another bout, Kevin Lerena, a rising star at the age of 21, will be put to the test against Javier Corrales and will look to reinforce his nickname as he shows off the five victories of his professional career, all of which came via the short route.
To conclude the bill, former South African lightweight champion Thompson Mokwana, who lost his title against the recently exposed for doping Viwe Mdletyeni, will hope not to be washed away by Matias “Tsunami” Gomez.
A win for Mokwana will help put out of his mind the unfair defeat to Mdletyeni and will be a positive step towards reclaiming his title.
Danger Zone Boxing Bill