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Huge boxing event planned for Nelson Mandela's birthday in South Africa
Awesome Mandela is a big boxing fan
While birthday wishes from all corners of South Africa, and indeed the rest of the globe, may have streamed in for former South African President Nelson Mandela recently, promoter Damian Michael and his team at Showpony Promotions have been hard at work for the last few months with their own version of a gift to the country’s most famous son.
While remaining coy on certain details at this stage, Michael has admitted that this event will not only be one of the biggest boxing events that this country will see, but will also pay homage to the man who led South Africa’s journey to a Rainbow Nation.
Indeed Mandela, who declared his love of the fistic arts many times over the years, is no stranger to fighting within the confines of four corners with his much-publicised and acclaimed battle against apartheid probably worth more than any championship belt.
The event, dubbed “Rumble at the Rock: a Tribute to Nelson Mandela” is set to take place in Cape Town early next year and Michael was quick to share his reasons why he feels it is necessary to put on an event of this nature.
“The time has now come for the sport that he truly loves to pay homage to him, the man who in my opinion is the greatest athlete to don a pair of boxing gloves,” explained Michael.
Michael has also hinted that several high profile stars from the world of boxing will not only be in attendance but that some seriously big name fighters have signed on the dotted line to be a part of what is sure to be a special event that will also feature several of South Africa’s high profile fighters.
“Evander Holyfield, Ray Mercer and Roy Jones Jnr have decided that this could be their final chapter and what better way to take a bow?” said Michael.
“Sonny Bill Williams is keen to showcase his skills and is sure to cause huge hype fighting one of our up and coming heavyweights, while British heavyweight David Price will take on Francois Botha.
“Former cruiserweight Steve Cunningham is keen as mustard to fight on our bill and I’ll be happy to introduce him to Thabiso Mchunu’s world-class skills.”
This won’t, however, be a one night affair of glitz and glamour. Instead, Michael is eager to keep the memory of this event living with development of boxing a key principle.
“We are sure to invest into development of this sport in South Africa and there will be a post-event legacy in areas that most need a platform to showcase up and coming fighters. The next Holyfield could well be in our own backyard just waiting for an opportunity.”
An event of this magnitude is sure to attract worldwide attention and Michael has already confirmed that major television networks have bought into the showcase.
Michael has also been in talks with the likes of Golden Boy Promotions – fronted by legendary fighter Oscar de la Hoya – with several trips to their base in LA as well as UK-based promoters Frank Maloney and Team Hatton in London.
“Executing an event this big requires guidance and has no space for egos. I look to the men that have done it all before for and the inspiration comes for free,” said Michael.
With the reminder of what Madiba went through on Robben Island motivating Showpony to stage this event and the fighters to train for a purpose, there’s no denying that when they dance in the shadows thrown by Table Mountain it will be a spectacle for all.