Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Most novices would lack the confidence to brush off an experienced pugilist such as Johnny "The Hurricane" Muller as simply human‚ but Youssef Mwanza is not one of them.

The two boxers are scheduled to trade blows over eight rounds in the main bout of the Christmas Cracker tournament at Emperors Palace on December 5.

A look at their records — Muller has engaged in 30 professional outings and Mwanza just 10 — suggests the muscle-bound upstart may be on a hiding to nothing.

Mwanza thinks otherwise.

"He’s just a human like me‚" said the Democratic Republic of Congo fighter, who relocated to Johannesburg a year ago to further his boxing career.

"There’s nothing to worry about. The difference [in experience] doesn’t mean anything to me‚" he said in French with the help of a translator.

Muller boasts 20 wins with 14 knockouts (KOs)‚ as well as eight defeats and two draws‚ compared to the young gun’s record of 7-2-1 (3 KOs).

"I will use everything — all my skills against him — firstly my brain‚ then my power‚" said Mwanza‚ who moonlights as a security guard.

Trainer Manny Fernandes says Mwanza is a useful switch-hitter‚ to the point that he cannot tell whether he is naturally orthodox or a lefty.

"But I prefer him at southpaw. I like a boxer to focus on one stance‚ but if it works for him‚ then let him do it."

Muller is eager to get his career back on track after losing four of his last five bouts. His last victory came at the last Christmas Cracker tournament in 2016‚ a second-round technical knockout of then unbeaten prospect Herman Potgieter.

That win broke Muller’s three-fight losing streak (against Oleksandr Usyk‚ Kevin Lerena and Micki Nielsen) and perhaps also Potgieter’s taste for the sport‚ as he hasn’t returned to the ring since.

The pedigree of Mwanza’s previous opponents is hard to ascertain.


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