So we meet again - by Ashleigh Egan
The crowd's excitement could be felt around the marquee; all eyes were on the two fighters in the middle of the square circle. Everyone cheered as the bell sounded and for a few seconds the two men stared at one another. They had faced each other the very same way twenty-five years ago: Gregory Clark and Lionel Hunter met at the West Ridge Park Tennis Stadium in Durban.
Hunter had moved down from light heavyweight to middleweight for the fight. The fight was rained out and re-scheduled for the next day.
Many don't know this, but following the initial weigh-in Lionel treated himself to a much needed feast. Subsequently when the fight was cancelled, he had to resort to extreme measures to lose any weight gained from the meal. In the end he made weight and the fight wen on as planned.
Gregory had just come off of a win and entered the ring confident. He had trained hard as the did for every fight before.
Lionel was nervous but felt prepared physically and mentally. He did say however that he feels the delay in the fight threw him off a little but maintains it is no excuse for the end result of the fight.
As the fight went on Clark drew blood and the fight was stopped one round before its official end (8 rounds). Hunter protested that he could carry on but the referee ended the bout. The fight resulted in a seventh round technical knockout win for Clark.
After his fight Hunter left the ring vowing he would end his professional career there and then. He kept true to his word and did not have another professional fight after that.
Clark enjoyed a successful career winning South African junior middleweight and middleweight titles. In his last fight in May 1993 he lost the junior middleweight title to Johannes Malaza.
When the two men met again in an exhibition match this year at Southern Giant 2011 the mood of the fight was completely different, the two fighters had come together in support of the Aidan Foundation. The organization set up to support Anton Gilmore's son Aidan's battle against TSS.
The bout was set up as an exhibition match but both boxers trained for the fight. The fight was the most anticipated of the day. Both boxers were welcomed into the ring with warm applause and most were on their feet the entire fight.
Both fighters looked every bit the great boxers they had always been; exchanging punches throughout the fight but taking it relatively easy on each other compared to their previous bout.
All that one could hear as the fight ended was the thunderous applause of the crowd. The respect between the two men was visible as they embraced before leaving the ring.
Speaking to both Gregory and Lionel a few weeks after the Southern Giant fight they agreed the second fight was much easier to go into. "It was a completely different feeling" said Lionel, "no nerves" he laughs. Lionel also describes his appreciation for all of the love he receives from the boxing fans in the South.
Gregory sang Lionel's praises and tells me they will always be friends. "I was excited to meet Lionel in the ring again and it was all for a good cause" Gregory said.
The fight at Southern Giant stirred up a special excitement in all that attended.