By Mesuli Zifo
American Eric Fields has received a boost in his quest to dethrone DRC native Ilunga Makabu of his WBC silver cruiserweight crown when he outweighed Makabu by more than three kilograms for their Saturday clash at Emperors Palace, South Africa on Saturday night.
Not only is the 31-year-old challenger heavier but he also dwarfs Makabu with a couple of inches as they posed for photographs shortly after the official weigh-in at the fight venue.
Makabu could only scaled 86, 5 kg while the ripped Fields who seemed to perfectly fit his “Danger” moniker tipped the scales at 89 kg.
South African trainer Colin Nathan at whose gymnasiums Fields has been working since arriving in the country has no doubt that the American will upset the applecart on Saturday.
“I watched this guy during his training here at my gym and I was blown away with his technique especially his right hand,” Nathan said.
“As we know that a right hand is usually a money punch against a southpaw, I think Makabu will have a long night against this guy. You can see that Fields is super motivated for this fight and although he has one loss in 23 fights I think he has put that setback behind him now.”
Fields was topped by Ola Afolabi way back in 2008 but since that defeat he has racked up 11 fight-unbeaten streak culminating to the clash against Makabu.
While Makabu is still basking on the glory of his impressive victory over Ukrainian Dmytro Kucher this past July when he snatched his WBC silver title, he is yet to be proven against quality opponents.
The win over Kucher netted him the fourth ranking in the WBC, bringing question marks about the wisdom of matching him against another formidable foe in his very next fight as that can spoil his high ranking.
And at 25-years old he is still at the development stage of his career which was delayed with a contractual dispute for close to a year before he finally obtained his clearance to join Golden Gloves Promotion (GGP) which will stage Saturday fight.
While Makabu still has a big hurdle to overcome against Fields, his management has already made plans for him to challenge Afolabi before the end of the year.
In another fight on the bill former number one Ring Magazine-rated Nkosinathi Joyi will try to redeem himself at the expense of the feather-fisted Filipino Benezer Alolod (12-4-4, 2 KOs) for the the WBC international junior flyweight crown.
Still smarting from the shocking defeat to compatriot Hekkie Budler just two months ago, the 30-year-old who is clearly on the decline of his career that failed to take off in a big way due to long spells of inactivity, finds himself having to win at all costs to avoid being relegated to a gatekeeper status.
He has lost two of his last three bouts including the shocking surrender of his IBF mini-flyweight crown to unheralded Mexican Mario Rodriguez who has since lost the crown in his first defence to Joyi’s victim Katsunari Takayama of Japan.
Joyi will be venturing into new territory in the junior flyweight division having fought all his 26 bouts against two losses and one no contest in the mini-flyweight class.
Bogged by a weight struggle of as different kind as he tends to lose pounds when preparing for a fight, requiring him to bulk up to stay within the limit, it will be interesting to see how he will be able to handle the junior flyweight division.
At the final weigh-in, he scaled 48, 82 kg to Alolod’s 48, 56 but the additional kilos may have been achieved by unconventional methods.
Ryno Liebenberg and Argentinean Gabriel Ramirez will clash for the light heavyweight regional crown while Tshephang Mohale and Jonny Muller will rematch for the SA light heavyweight belt.