Rothmann expects Makhense to improve after title win
Trainer praises fighter after Pan African title win
Trainer Sebastiaan Rothmann says he expects Jabulani Makhense to scale greater heights than the WBA Pan African junior welterweight title he won at the weekend.
The 23-year-old Makhense caused arguably the upset of the year when he easily outclassed SA and WBF Intercontinental champion Xolani “Tiger” Mcotheli over 12 rounds at Emperors Palace on Sunday afternoon.
Rothmann‚ a former SA‚ WBU and IBO cruiserweight champion‚ said the best of Makhense is yet to come.
‘‘Jabulani is a talented fighter‚” he said. ‘‘I’ve said this before and I am still saying it now: give him time‚ he will go on to win big titles in future. I am very proud of what he has done so far.
“His performance on Sunday was very clinical. He did exactly what we had planned for him to do because we knew who we were fighting.
‘‘Mcotheli has quick hands on the inside‚ so the plan was to keep him at a distance and use our height and reach advantage. We did not even allow him to counterpunch. This was a disciplined performance.”
Asked if they were not interested in Mcotheli’s national title‚ Rothmann whose first title was the SA belt he won against schooled Earl Morais in 1999‚ said: ‘‘We are looking for bigger things. We would like to make a defence of the WBA Pan African title but it will depend on where Rodney Berman wants to take us to.”
Mcotheli‚ originally from Mthatha but now based in East London‚ is not a paper champion and showed his true potential against veteran Vusumzi Tyatyeka in a fight for the IBO International lightweight belt.
He showed flashes of brilliance when he retained the SA junior welterweight title with a sixth-round stoppage of former champion Warren “The Warrior” Joubert in Pretoria last year. He also showed maturity against Clement ‘‘Slow Poison” Kamanga for the WBF Intercontinental title in August.
But Mcotheli met a young‚ hungry and classy Makhense who was involved in only his seventh fight on Sunday. The 23-year-old from Limpopo fought like a seasoned campaigner.
There were times when he made Mcotheli look like a newcomer in the fight game. The veteran ran out of ideas and his frustration was visible on his face. He tried to corner Makhense but the younger man extricated himself from any potential danger.
Mcotheli tried every trick in the book but Makhense was wide awake. He was always ready for everything that came his way and kept Mcotheli at bay with his long jabs. The only time Makhanse allowed him closer was when he wanted to throw his uppercuts.
The fight‚ deemed a mismatch due to the two boxers’ fight records and championship bouts‚ turned out to be Makhense’s easiest to date. It could go on to be seen as the upset of the year.