Azinga Fuzile seen in an earlier bout, fights Waidi Usman for the IBF Africa junior-lightweight title at Orient Theatre on Sunday.
Image: File

Duncan Village star Azinga Fuzile begins a different boxing journey in a new weight division when he fights for the IBF Africa junior-lightweight title against Nigerian Waidi Usman at Orient Theatre on Sunday.

The fight marks the first time Fuzile fights in a new division after making a name for himself in the featherweights.

At the time, Fuzile, who was still a virtual unknown, burst onto the scene as a four- fight novice to dethrone experienced and battle-hardened Mdantsane hero, Macbute Sinyabi.

He established himself as “king of the castle” by wresting the SA featherweight title away from the then 33-fight veteran.

Since then, Fuzile has reigned with an iron-fist winning several regional titles, including the WBC interim youth title, emerging with it as the next boxing star in the region.

His popularity grew outside East London when he destroyed another battle-scarred boxer Tshifhiwa Munyai in the Super Four series (S4) at Emperors Palace.

But he never finished the S4 series as he was declared medically unfit by the promoter.

By the time he was medically cleared, he was faced with a new challenge – battle of the weight.

On Sunday he begins a new chapter when he chases a continental title against Usman, who is also moving up to the junior-lightweight division after ruling the ABU as featherweight champion.

Fuzile has always been a big featherweight, so much so, that his handlers at one stage even contemplated making him compete in the lightweight division.

He will not start down the rung of the ladder in the new division, as management ensured he carried over his ranking from the featherweights to the new division.

"He is already rated in the junior-lightweight so he will not have to start afresh,” said his promoter Teris Ntutu.

While Usman is not expected to trouble the 22-year-old southpaw it will be interesting to see if Fuzile will carry his power up north.

While Fuzile tries to settle in the new weight class, an opportunity has opened up for local boxer Khanyile Bulana to contest it against Free State’s Tello Dithebe.

Unbeaten in nine fights with seven stoppages, the 26-year-old gets an opportunity to add his name to the list of boxers who have held the featherweight title.

Among those boxers, is legendary Jackie Gunguluza who remains the only boxer in the land to have held the title three times.

The tournament which is being staged by Rumble Africa Promotion, will see Phila Mpontshane’s second defence of his SA junior-lightweight title against Koos Sibiya.

There have been suggestions that by billing Fuzile and Mpontshane on one card, organisers are trying to stoke interest for a possible bout between the pair down the line.

While Mpontshane’s days as a junior-lightweight are numbered with a lightweight campaign beckoning, a clash with Fuzile would still generate huge interest in the region with the rivalry between Mdantsane and Duncan Village spicing it up.

Xolisa Magusha and Ayanda Ndulani will be engaged in a rematch after their clash in March last year, when Ndulani lost on a stoppage following a questionable verdict. Ndulani fights Magusha when he is at his most vulnerable, as he is battling weight issues.

Other boxers on the card include charismatic Siviwe Nontshinga, former national champion Siphosethu Mvula, amateur star Asanda Gingqi and Xolisile Voyi who will all come up against solid opposition.z

The fight marks the first time Fuzile fights in a new division after making a name for himself in the featherweights.

At the time, Fuzile, who was still a virtual unknown, burst onto the scene as a four- fight novice to dethrone experienced and battle-hardened Mdantsane hero, Macbute Sinyabi.

He established himself as “king of the castle” by wresting the SA featherweight title away from the then 33-fight veteran.

Since then, Fuzile has reigned with an iron-fist winning several regional titles, including the WBC interim youth title, emerging with it as the next boxing star in the region.

His popularity grew outside East London when he destroyed another battle-scarred boxer Tshifhiwa Munyai in the Super Four series (S4) at Emperors Palace.

But he never finished the S4 series as he was declared medically unfit by the promoter.

By the time he was medically cleared, he was faced with a new challenge – battle of the weight.

On Sunday he begins a new chapter when he chases a continental title against Usman, who is also moving up to the junior-lightweight division after ruling the ABU as featherweight champion.

Fuzile has always been a big featherweight, so much so, that his handlers at one stage even contemplated making him compete in the lightweight division.

He will not start down the rung of the ladder in the new division, as management ensured he carried over his ranking from the featherweights to the new division.

"He is already rated in the junior-lightweight so he will not have to start afresh,” said his promoter Teris Ntutu.

While Usman is not expected to trouble the 22-year-old southpaw it will be interesting to see if Fuzile will carry his power up north.

While Fuzile tries to settle in the new weight class, an opportunity has opened up for local boxer Khanyile Bulana to contest it against Free State’s Tello Dithebe.

Unbeaten in nine fights with seven stoppages, the 26-year-old gets an opportunity to add his name to the list of boxers who have held the featherweight title.

Among those boxers, is legendary Jackie Gunguluza who remains the only boxer in the land to have held the title three times.

The tournament which is being staged by Rumble Africa Promotion, will see Phila Mpontshane’s second defence of his SA junior-lightweight title against Koos Sibiya.

There have been suggestions that by billing Fuzile and Mpontshane on one card, organisers are trying to stoke interest for a possible bout between the pair down the line.

While Mpontshane’s days as a junior-lightweight are numbered with a lightweight campaign beckoning, a clash with Fuzile would still generate huge interest in the region with the rivalry between Mdantsane and Duncan Village spicing it up.

Xolisa Magusha and Ayanda Ndulani will be engaged in a rematch after their clash in March last year, when Ndulani lost on a stoppage following a questionable verdict. Ndulani fights Magusha when he is at his most vulnerable, as he is battling weight issues.

Other boxers on the card include charismatic Siviwe Nontshinga, former national champion Siphosethu Mvula, amateur star Asanda Gingqi and Xolisile Voyi who will all come up against solid opposition.

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