Finally tomorrow will usher in a new dawn in boxing when either young blood takes over or the old guard remains defiant.
This when the inaugural Featherweight Super Four Series punches off at Emperors Palace.
Two prospects Azinga Fuzile and Lerato Dlamini will come up against Tshifiwa Munyai and Simpiwe Vetyeka respectively.
There is no doubt that the hopes of the Eastern Cape, specifically East London, rest on Fuzile, who hails from Duncan Village, and the Mdantsane-based Vetyeka.
So much has been said about the four boxers on social media with fans basing their predictions and wishes on the boxers’ perceived weaknesses and strength.
We will therefore analyse the strength and weaknesses that may play a crucial role in determining the outcome.
Fight record: 32
Trainer: Sean Smith.
Strength: Vetyeka will be the most experienced of all the boxers in the series. The Duncan Village-born boxer is a three-time world champion having won the IBO in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, as well as the WBA crown in the featherweight division.
Vetyeka is one of the technically gifted boxers in the business and there is no opponent tough enough for him when he is motivated.
With the inactivity that has blighted him, there is no doubt that he sees the series as a good opportunity to vault back to mega bouts he so desperately needs.
At his age, he does not need any motivation as he knows that a defeat especially to a relative novice like Dlamini will be an epitaph he would not want.
Weaknesses: As much as Vetyeka is banking on experience, this can also be his Achilles heel as it will be interesting to see if at 36 years old he is still as sharp as he used to be.
Add the long spell of inactivity, and suddenly a win for Dlamini is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Vetyeka was marked up badly by unheralded Japanese Tyuyoshi Tameda in his last bout in April last year – although there was no questioning his win.
Like Dlamini, the Japanese was young and fresh but he did not pack such a mean punch, otherwise one cringes to think what would have happened. On the other hand, Dlamini does not only rely on youth but also on his power.
Vetyeka will need to gain the younger opponent’s respect early on, in order to settle on his game-plan.
There could be a lack of chemistry in his corner as his arrangement to train with Smith is temporal and therefore loyalties may be lacking.
Trainer: Colin Nathan
Strength: Dlamini is the most closed book opponent in the series with not much information on him.
He was relatively unknown – until he stunned Sinethemba Bam with a knockout to capture the IBF Youth title this past April in Bloemfontein.
The win served as a ticket to enter the series and with astute technical trainer, Colin Nathan, he should be viewed as a serious threat. His loss was in his professional debut since he teamed up with Nathan and has walked over opposition with ruthlessness. He will take a major step up in class against Vetyeka but he has nothing to lose – and that should double his motivation. Should he beat Vetyeka he will become an overnight sensation. Those who have seen him in action describe him as a raw and rugged youngster who is not as gifted in the technical department. That is not good news against a technician like Vetyeka but, then again, Vetyeka always enters the ring with a technical edge over his opponents.
Weaknesses: Macbute Sinyabi describes Dlamini as not a smart boxer. Dlamini is said to be relying more on brawn than brains but that may be an off-the-mark observation as that analysis is derived from his amateur days. He may have shored up his technique especially under Nathan.
Even if he is not as technically sound as Vetyeka he may still pose problems with his raw boxing style especially as it will be complemented by youth.
Fight record: 8
Trainer: Mzamo Chief Njekanye
STRENGTH: Fuzile is the youngest boxer in the series but that does not mean he is the least experienced.
He has already beaten more experienced boxers in his short career, but Munyai will rate as the biggest challenge.
But Fuzile has shown strength of being able to handle any style presented to him and one can bet that he will figure Munyai out and force him to settle in his own game-plan.
One of the most awkward boxers in our generation, Fuzile’s boxing is based on making opponents commit then counter them while transforming himself into an impenetrable target.
The boy has a big match temperament (BMT) and he will unlikely be overawed by the occasion of fighting in an unfamiliar environment.
Weaknesses: His corner manned by the knowledgeable Njekanye is yet to be tested in a big occasion and foreign environment as Emperors Palace where there will be no vociferous support he is used to at Orient Theatre.
But Njekanye is unfazed by this prospect relying on the father-son partnership he has forged with the youngster since his amateur days.
Fuzile injured his hand in his last fight against Rhofhiwa Maemu but Munyai is said to be casting aspersions on those claims saying it indicates to the inexperience of Fuzile’s corner on the technique of binding his hands.
One hopes Munyai’s claims are unfounded and the injury does not flare up again.
Trainer: Warren Hulley
Strength: There are boxers who enter the ring, purely for their past achievements and Munyai might just be one of them. The Limpopo boxer was the best boxing export of this country when he used England as his second home – with notable wins against that country’s prospects.
He kept beating up every opposition put in front of him until he lost to a Ghana-born boxer Osumanu Akaba.
While he seemed to carry his technique up to the junior-featherweights, when he signed promotional rights with East London promoter, Mamali Promotions, it was clear that he was not as sharp as he used to be in the bantamweights.
Now Munyai campaigns in the featherweights – and is up against a young star in Fuzile. His experience may put him in good stead and there are few local people who are backing him to win.
Weaknesses: Already Munyai is said to be taking Fuzile lightly judging by his comments coming from his camp. The Limpopo boxer is said to be even questioning the experience of Fuzile’s corner going as far as accusing Fuzile of faking the injury he claimed to have suffered against Maemu.
That attitude alone will be his undoing if he is already dismissing Fuzile, instead of paying the closest attention to him.
If he is taking Fuzile like any other opponent he is in for a rude awakening because he will discover that he is a different kettle of fish altogether.