Lamati will not drop his guard against Kabore

Ludumo “9 mm” Lamati may be facing a relatively unknown boxer, Alexis Boureima Kabore, from a non- boxing country but he is not taking the Burkinabe pugilist lightly.

KEEPING TIGHT FIST: Ludumo Lamati, left, with his trainer Rocky Weinstein are both confident Lamati will retain his IBF Intercontinental junior-featherweight title against Burkinabe Alexis Boureima Kabore at Orient Theatre on Friday Picture: RANDELL ROSKRUGE

Lamati will defend his IBF Intercontinental junior-featherweight title at Orient Theatre on Friday.

However there has been mild interest in the fight due to the challenger coming from a country not known for boxing exploits.

Instead, Burkina Faso is better known as a soccer country having shared many duels with Bafana Bafana – both in friendlies or Fifa-sanctioned matches.

But Lamati has done his homework on his opponent and is aware that Boureima lost a unanimous decision to current WBC junior-featherweight king Rey Vargas.

“Yes one of his only two losses were to Vargas so that means he is a formidable foe,” said Lamati.

In 29 bouts Boureima has lost twice, suffering his first defeat in his professional debut but later avenged it.

Since then he has been enjoying a good run, including the win over Filipino Sylvester Lopez who once visited these shores only to get blown away by Duncan Village’s Thabo Sonjica.

The fact that Boureima was able to take Vargas the distance, underlines his credibility which will help Lamati in his quest for a world title challenge next year. “All I want is to beat this guy then see what will happen in 2018,” he said.

“Right now I am rated in respectable positions by the major world bodies and I am expecting my IBF rating to improve after this fight.”

Lamati’s trainer Rocky Weinstein who took over the tutelage of the boxer after the death of his friend Nick Durandt, said they had watched the Burkinabe in video footage. “He is not half bad and if we take him lightly he can surprise us,” he said.

The tournament organised by Xaba Promotions and Events will see four other major titles being contested, led by Cape Town-based Duncan Village star Mzuvukile Magwaca defending his IBF Intercontinental bantamweight crown against Immanuel Naidjala of Namibia. In local derbies Thembelani Nxoshe will risk his SA flyweight crown against Nhlanhla Ngamntwini, while Siphamandla Baleni from XPE Boxing Club will defend the SA mini-flyweight belt against Xolisa Magusha from the Mzi Mnguni stable.

Speaking about the fight, Magusha’s trainer Ncedo Cecane – a former flyweight champion – said he was grateful to XPE for keep giving “bra Mzi titles as a Christmas present.

“In December last year XPE gave us the SA junior-lightweight title when our boxer Phila Mpontshane beat Aphiwe Mboyiya.

“This time they will give us the mini-flyweight title.”

Magusha, who holds the provincial title, could not conceal his excitement for getting the title shot.

“I have been praying for this opportunity for a long time and now it is here,” he said.

“It could not have come at a better time.”

The tournament will also be accompanied by other activities to celebrate XPE 10th anniversary, these include a fun run in Mdantsane on Saturday and an awards gala dinner on Sunday afternoon.

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