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“Emperors Palace “DAMOCLES” - by Terry Pettifer

With the Emperors Palace blockbuster tournament ‘DAMOCLES’ set for October
31, its rather surprising that fight buffs throughout Gauteng have already begun
debating the wisdom of matching two of Golden Gloves Promotions most riveting
talents; Tommy “Tommy Gun” Oosthuizen (9-0, 7 knockouts) and Isaac “The
Golden Boy” Chilemba (13-1, 8 knockouts) against opponents who could realistically
derail their burgeoning careers. Publisher of African Ring magazine Jeff Ellis said as much ahead of what threatens to be a thunderous night of boxing, which also features sensational professional debutant Flo “The Demolition Man” Simba.

“Rodney (Berman) is taking a massive chance by putting two of his brightest
young stars; Oosthuizen and Chilemba into fights of such magnitude, especially
in view of the opposition they’ll be facing” said Ellis. “Mind you, he has taken calculated risks in the past and they paid off handsomely and no doubt the CEO of
Golden Gloves has carefully weighed up the pros and cons of his decision”.

Ellis’ consternation is, however, shared by former ringside oracle Paul Hetz who
said, “Oosthuizen is a marvelous talent and his forthcoming WBA Pan African championship shootout with the SA super middleweight champion Tshepang Mohale
should answer a lot of prevalent questions, the most important being whether or not Oosthuizen can take a good crack on the whiskers. I say that because Mohale, can really punch, as seen by his professional ledger that reads 7-2, 6 knockouts”.

Hetz, who used to write for Boxing Express in the mid-Eighties, added; “As for
Chilemba, let me say that he has to be considered a rank underdog going into this WBC International light heavyweight title bout against the reigning champion Doudou Ngumbu of France. Judging by their respective records, Chilemba is clearly disadvantaged, given the fact that he will be facing a champion with an unblemished resume of 20-0, with 9 knockouts.

I could be wrong but I think that at least one of Berman’s two stars will be shell-shocked on the night”. That Oosthuizen’s highly experienced trainer Harold “The Hammer” Volbrecht has predicted a ‘golden’ future for his 22- year-old charge, hasn’t escaped the attention of boxing pundits country wide and trainer Manny Fernandes, who is a neutral observer to the action soon to unfold, agrees with the Hammer. “Harold is a great mentor and he’s brought this kid along in leaps and bounds. As it is, Tommy is a lethal predator and his towering height makes him very difficult to tag. I can’t see Mohale beating him. No way!”

As for the Chilemba-Ngumbu title bout, experts seem to agree that the 23-yearold
Golden Boy will have a torrid fight on his hands, but his up-and-coming trainer
Colin Nathan firmly believes that his slick boxing protégé will have the speed,
power and savy with which to prevail.

“Issac is a wonderfully talented boxerfighter and he’s getting better all the
time. Come fight night he will be psychologically juiced up for the occasion and
Ngumbu will find that he has a real tiger on his hands, believe me” said Nathan.

What of the much publicized Simba, who’ll be making his debut at the catchweight
limit of 90 kgs? To quote promoter Rodney Berman, “I can assure fight fans that this 20-year-old newcomer has all the necessary ingredients with which to attain stardom. Moreover, as a student at university, he has the intelligence and presence of mind to know that boxing is a progressively demanding sport, and he
has structured his thinking along the correct lines, which I have to believe will see
him triumph at the highest level of his profession. Needless to say, though, that
will take time and we won’t be rushing him before he’s equipped to handle the
best there is”.

COULD THIS BE THE ‘LAST CHANCE SALOON’ FOR MARALI?

The saying goes that sometime in life everyone encounters what is termed a
‘last chance saloon’ and while this adage generally applies to those who require a
final opportunity at making good, the portents could well be the same for former four-time world champion Zolani “The Untouchable” Marali (20-3, 13 knockouts) ahead of his vacant IBO lightweight title bout against the unbeaten Mlungisi “The Shark” Dlamini (20-0, 9 knockouts) on October 31 at Emperors Palace.

Knocked off his IBO junior lightweight perch by Korea’s Ji Hoon Kim at the same venue recently, after having built up a substantial points lead, Marali must know that this is his final chance of attaining international stardom in what has often been called the “ Sour Art”. And insofar as the 32-year-old Marali is concerned, nothing could be quite as sour as losing to the multi-skilled Dlamini.

“Zolani had been battling with his weight prior to his last fight and I believe that he’ll resurrect his career now that he’s moved up to lightweight” said trainer Colin Nathan.

The 10th round knockout defeat Marali sustained at the hands of Kim, however,
reverberated around the fistic world and methinks nothing less than a comprehensive victory would dispel the notion that the Untouchable is a spent force.

“Boxing is one of the most unforgiving sports in the world and Marali should realize
that there’ll be no excuses if he fails against Dlamini” said manager Brian Mitchell.

And fail he may if Dlamini’s trainer Warren Hulley has his way. “Mlungisi is a
naturally gifted athlete and you haven’t begun to see his true worth as a fighter” said Hulley. “We certainly wouldn’t have signed to fight Marali if we thought
Dlamini was not going to win”.

Golden Gloves Promoter Rodney Berman anticipates a ‘war’ on the night and the tournament banner; ‘DAMOCLES’ will definitely be applicable to one of the two fighters on the night.

A consensus of expert opinion, realized after polling 10 analysts, leans heavily in favour of Dlamini, whose rapid-fire combinations and astute boxing skills have eye-catching value throughout South Africa.

Trainer Manny Fernandes strongly fancies Dlamini to triumph on the night, as
do a number of other prominent field personalities.

Not that Marali’s trainer Colin Nathan hasn’t impressed upon his charge the need to be at his very best when facing the younger Dlamini. “Zolani knows Dlamini fairly well and we’ve fashioned a definite battle strategy for this fight, although I’m not prepared to divulge the mechanics involved” said Nathan.