Talented Tyirha in high stakes clash
Nhlanhla Tyirha is just 19 years old, and in a perfect description of being put in the fast lane, the year may end for him with a national title around his slim waist.
This even though the left- hander only started to fight for pay only six months ago.
Since June this year Tyirha, a bright amateur star who is one the flood of youngsters that turned their backs on the unpaid ranks this year, has fought just three times.
His crowning moment came when he outpointed veteran Luyanda Nkwankwa in a rather debatable outcome which was frowned upon in certain boxing circles.
Before that fight, Nkwankwa seemed to be beating up SA junior-flyweight champion Bongani Silila with ease until his unfitness got the better of him as he got tired and simply gave up fighting.
By beating a fitter and determined Nkwankwa, Tyirha has now earned a shot at Silila, with the fight being scheduled for December 7 at Orient Theatre in East London.
Some believe the 19-year-old has been thrown in the deep end by being matched against an old warhorse like Silila.
Fight promoter Xaba Promotions, which own both boxers, disagree.
“While we cannot say who will win this fight but I think it will involve two contrasting styles matchup which will mesh well to produce an explosive bout,” the promotion said.
XP is renowned for its daring moves of putting youngsters in tough bouts before they are ready.
While the gamble has paid off, it has also backfired badly, with some youngsters never able to recover after taking psychological beatings.
In 2014 a four-fight novice, Siseko Nkohliso, who was nowhere ready to challenge for the national title, was matched against then SA junior-fly champion Thabiso Moorosi, and took a hideous beating which cut his career short.
Nkohliso was never the same after the loss and subsequently vanished.
XP did not seem to have learnt from that mistake as it also matched green novice Uyanda Nogogo against vastly experienced Mziwoxolo Ndwayana, with the former taking a heinous beating.
Nogogo is yet to fully recover from the psychological scars of the hiding.
Will Tyirha be next to fall on the wayside because of being overmatched?
Boxing fans are divided on this, although it must be said the youngster may have caught Silila at a perfect time.
One of the boxers with zero technique, Silila relies heavily on brute power to overcome his opponents.
His best tool is to bum rush foes but, as it proved against Nkwankwa, he can be easily timed while budging in.
Since he engaged in a brutal and career shortening slugfest with Luzuko Siyo, Silila has never displayed the same offence, with his boxing now characterised by wild misses.
Tyirha, who is blessed with hand speed, is expected to take an early lead, but it is down the stretch where the fight will be interesting.
Silila will swing for the fences throughout, and if Tyirha’s fitness and inexperience betray him, one such helicopter punch may land home.
If not the country will witness a history making feat as Tyirha will break Viccie Toweel’s 69-year-old record of winning the national title in only his fourth professional fight...