By Mesuli Zifo
IF a fight outcome was determined by statistics such as weight, age and the number of bouts former world heavyweight champion Francois Botha would be declared a winner long before steps into the ring for his non- title clash against upstart Flo Simba at Emperors Palace, in Johannesburg, SA Saturday.
At the final weigh-in ceremony at the fight venue Botha outweighed Simba by more than 20 kg when he scaled 119, 30 kg [263-pounds] to Simba’s 98 kg [216-pounds].
The 42-year-old Botha who is Simba’s senior by 21 years, declared himself ready to rumble while the youngster adopted a calm approach while oozing confidence ahead of the biggest fight of his short professional career.
Simba (10-0, 9 KOs) has fought only 15 fights at both the amateur and professional ranks and that pales in significance when compared to Botha who has shared the ring 56 times with just five losses in the paid ranks.
There was no drama at the weigh-in ceremony as all the fighters showed respect for each other obviously focusing on the job at hand for Saturday.
Even sworn enemies Bongani Mwelase and Chris Van Heerden who traded verbal jabs at Tuesday’s pre medical and nearly came to blows, just got on with their weigh-in responsibilities without any fuss while avoiding each other.
The duo easily made the weight for their IBO welterweight title eliminator with Mwelase who is renowned for paying little regard to weight responsibilities as he sometimes comes to his fights a middleweight, tipping the scales at 66 kg while Van Heerden was also within the limit albeit being 20 grams heavier than Mwelase.
Mwelase-Van Heerden bout is expected to steal the show as the boxers are evenly matched besides their genuinely hatred for each other.
Both are southpaws, with each spotting a single loss in 15 and 17 bouts respectively while Mwelase edges his foe in the knockout ratio by just two as he has floored 12 opponents compared to Van Heerden’s 10.
In other bouts Thomas Oosthuizen weighed 75, 70kg for his IBO super middleweight title defence against old warhorse William Gare who registered 75, 50 kg.
Interestingly the Oosthuizen-Gare clash will be handled by Polish referee Peter Podgorski who was the third man in the ring in the IBF super middleweight title defence by Canadian Lucien Bute against Irish fighter Brian Magee in Canada in March.
Promoter Rodney Berman, who will stage Saturday’s show under his Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) banner, described the appointment of Podgorski as a perfect coincidence as he will be better placed to give an opinion on how Oosthuizen could fair up against Bute as the GGP boss is looking to unleash the unbeaten 23-year-old southpaw into the international boxing scene.
“We looking to launch Oosthuizen’s career internationally so every bit of help is welcome,” Berman said.
In other bouts Thabiso Mchunu (94,50kg) collides with Dannie Venter (107, 30 kg) in a catchweight bout and Johnny Muller (77, 95 kg) defends his South African light heavyweight title against Tshepang Mohale.