KWAZULU-Natal warrior Thabiso ‘‘The Rock" Mchunu has warned he will not allow Ilunga ‘‘Junior" Makabu to bully him in his own kraal when they collide in the WBC cruiserweight title eliminator at the Durban ICC Hall on May 16.
The No 2 rated Mchunu hails from KwaXimba in Pietermaritzburg while Makabu, who is placed a spot below his foe, is from Kananga in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Beside the WBC No 1 ranking carrot that will be dangled before these left handers, they have the added incentive of gaining the right to challenge whoever emerges victorious in the bout between WBC champion Grigory Drozd and Krzystof Wlodarczyk on May 22.
‘‘No one will bully me in front of my people, never," warned Mchunu on Tuesday after his training session at the Smith Gym of trainer Sean Smith in Fourways, Johannesburg.
‘‘I will use all my advantages, territory, hand speed and cleverness. Ilunga has never fought a boxer of my calibre. I may even knock him out if he gets too careless. This fight will take me through to the WBC title. I cannot allow Makabu to stand in my way."
Most of Mchunu’s fights have been in Gauteng but his last three were in the US under his new promoter Kathy Duva, whose Main Events co-promotes the fighter with local promoter Damien Michael of Showpony Promotion.
Smith, who guided Mchunu to victory for the ABU and NABF belts, said: ‘‘Thabiso has proved he is a worthy contender for the WBC (title) whereas Makabu has beaten no one of significance. Not to say that he is not worthy opposition but I just do not believe he has the skills and ability to go to the next level," said Smith.
Michael, who will co-promote the fight with Ludonga Boxing Promotion of Thulani Magudulela, said: ‘‘Thabiso is too global for local fighters. Fighting a top-rated fighter like Eddy Chambers, school him in his backyard, says a lot about Thabiso’s pedigree. Makabu is a great fighter but the pedigree of Thabiso will always prevail."
WBC representative in Africa, Peter Ngatane, confirmed that the Mexico-based organisation has appointed Daniel van de Wiele from Belgium to be the referee, while Lateef Muiss from Nigeria, Atta Eddie Pappoe from Ghana and John Shipakule from Zambia will be ringside judges.