Power & Pride

Former heavyweight champion Francois Botha will represent a massive step up for rising heavyweight star Flo Simba when the two meet in a 10-rounder at Emperors Palace on June 4.

Confirming the participation of the “White Buffalo”, Golden Gloves CEO Rodney Berman said that Botha would be Simba’s biggest test in a career that has so far yielded 10 successive wins, nine by knockout.

The veteran Botha has had a remarkable career, having fought the likes of Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, Michael Moorer and Lennox Lewis. He’s also been the unofficial “gatekeeper” to the division, having fought aspirants like Shannon Briggs, Clifford Etienne and David Bostice.

Simba , 21, is a novice by comparison, but such has been his career to date, Berman had no hesitation predicting he will go down as “the most exciting fighter to emerge from South Africa.”

Golden Gloves has a knack of producing heavyweight thrillers, going all the way back to Kallie Knoetze vs Jimmy Abbott and Gerrie Coetzee against Mike Koranicki. More latterly, there was Pierre Coetzer- Johnny du Plooy, Coetzer against Knoetze, Johnny du Plooy against Corrie Sanders and, most famously, Lennox Lewis versus Hasim Rahman, which took place almost 10 years ago to the day.

Every one of these was explosive and ended inside the distance, with this latest match-up giving every indication of a similar scenario.

Brian Mitchell, Simba’s manager, is wary of the threat posed by Botha, but believes in his protégé’s ability. “People have been asking for Flo to step up. This is a bit bigger than I would have liked, but he can look after himself. I expect him to make a real statement against the White Buffalo, who has been in with the best.”

The “Power and Pride” bill is among the finest tournaments put together by Golden Gloves.

Exciting super-middleweight star and IBO champion Tommy Oosthuizen will feature in an intriguing local battle against veteran hard man William Gare. Gare is on a five-fight winning streak and has had 41 fights compared to Oosthuizen’s 13.

A professional since 1994, Gare has altogether fought 24 title bouts of one description or another and has never been stopped.

Oosthuizen, who lives up to his “Tommy Gun” nickname, is a banger who will have ambitions of adding to his nine stoppage wins.

On the undercard, exciting southpaw Chris van Heerden, the SA welterweight champion, will meet fellow left-hander Bongani Mwelase. This will be Van Heerden’s first fight under the Golden Gloves banner, although he couldn’t have asked for a tougher assignment. Mwelase is a former amateur star with a single defeat in 15 fights – a narrow points loss to Lovemore Ndou six months ago. Van Heerden is a rugged crowdpleasing fighter who will have to dig deep against the “Meadowlands Cyclone”.

Also on the bill will be unbeaten SA light-heavyweight champion Johnny Muller, who takes on reigning national super-middleweight champion Tshepang Mohale.

Mohale shot to prominence when he belted Renier Dorfling in just his fourth professional fight, while in 2009 he shocked the more fancied Khotso Motau to capture the SA title.

Given the nature of the fights, Berman had no hesitation adding a betting dimension to the bill, with punters able to lay bets with Betting World on the night.