Pretoria, South Africa: South African phenom Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu (16-1, 11 KOs) pushed himself even harder in training camp as he prepared to square off with Brazilian Julio "Gaspar" Cesar Dos Santos (26-2, 23 KOs) in front of his hometown crowd Friday, June 6 in Pretoria South Africa. The 26 year old cruiserweight is scheduled to face Dos Santos in ten rounds at Rembrandt Hall at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa.
Mchunu has won six straight bouts (since September of 2011 when he suffered his first, and only, pro defeat to Zack Mwekassa) - four by knockout (KO 1 vs. Lesley Khumalo on March 3, 2012, KO 1 vs. Flo Simba on June 16, 2012, another KO 1 vs. Flo Simba on September 22, 2012 and KO 5 vs. Danie Venter on November 10, 2012) before making his US debut with an impressive ten round unanimous decision victory over "Fast" Eddie Chambers on August 3, 2013 on NBCSN Fight Night. His most recent win came on January 24, 2014 against Olanrewaju "God's Power" Durodola in ten rounds at Resorts International Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ and also on NBCSN Fight Night. This will be his first fight in his home country since signing a promotional contract with Main Events late in 2013.
According to Sean Smith, Mchunu's trainer, Thabiso pushed himself harder than ever before while preparing for this fight, "Thabiso has had a great camp. Although we stuck to the same program as usual, we pushed a little harder with the cardio work and rounds of sparring. He has made major progress in his running output and punching power this camp."
Smith and Mchunu wanted to concentrate on Thabiso's stamina in the later rounds heading into this fight and they made that the main focus of this training camp. Smith added, "I've seen Thabiso put together some of his best sparring to date in this camp. He is an extremely focused athlete, and has the ability to take things to a new level. It is very easy to see guys plateau and fizzle out soon as you increase the volume and intensity. I truly believe not too many guys can go the distance with Thabiso if he can sustain the pressure in the later rounds."
"The Rock's" opponent, Julio "Gaspar" Cesar Dos Santos is ten years his senior at age 36. Dos Santos only has two losses in his entire career and he has never been stopped. Also, the Brazilian has a staggering 88% (23 of 26) knockout-to-win ratio. Smith said of Dos Santos, "Julio Dos Santos is also in fantastic shape and this is going to be a very ascetically pleasing bout." He added, "But fans are gonna see a razor sharp and relentless Thabiso. Dos Santos has a very good record but I think Thabiso is gonna make a statement loud and clear that he's ready for the next level."
With regards to this fight, Thabiso said only, "I am going to traumatize this guy from start to finish."
Main Events and Show Pony Promotions co-promote Mchunu. Damian Michael of Show Pony said, "I really believe come fight night on Friday we are going to see a very different Mchunu. He knows nothing short of a KO will do! His skills are just on another level and he is, without a doubt, the most talented cruiser on the planet! With the like of Bellew, Cleverly and whole lot of other big names, the cruiserweight division really is heating up!" To which Thabiso replied, "Bring them. Bring anyone! Afolabi, Bellew or Huck - they cannot exist on my planet"
Philadelphia, PA: Karl "Dynamite" Dargan (15-0, 7 KOs) opened his training camp at the James Shuler Gym in Philadelphia to the media on Monday as he prepares to face fellow Philadelphian Anthony Flores (11-4-1, 6 KOs) on June 21 at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Dargan will defend his USBA Atlantic Coast Region Lightweight Title against Flores in a ten-round match-up as the co-feature on NBCSN Fight Night starting at 8 PM ET.
Dargan, 28, is trained by his uncle, Brother Naazim Richardson, who coincidentally also trains fellow Main Events' stable mate and USBA Heavyweight Champion Steve "USS" Cunningham. Richardson is best known for training IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins. Richardson believes Dargan is primed and ready to take on Flores; he said, "Camp runs smooth with 'Dynamite' because he grew up in camps. He has an understanding of how you conduct yourself and how you carry yourself. Dargan has grown up around this his whole life. Come June 21st you are going to see Karl Dargan become the best athlete he can be."
"Dynamite" knows very little about Flores, 26; he said, "I saw Flores fight for about a half a round a couple months ago. I know nothing about him. That's what the trainer is for, to prepare you for your opponent. Your trainer is supposed to strategize and then execute that strategy." Richardson said, "Flores is going to need to make adjustments for Karl Dargan. We are not trying to take a belt from Flores; Flores is going to try to take a belt from us. Dargan is going to perform the way he needs to perform. I see him getting his hand raised at the end of the fight. I think Anthony Flores is going to see what kind of underarm deodorant Karl Dargan is wearing on June 21."
The undefeated Dargan grew up around boxing, so he does not consider this training camp; he considers it a lifestyle. "My whole life is training camp. I have been in camp since the week after my last fight. That's what my life is about. I don't start training when I get a date, that's what opponents do. I'm not an opponent. Opponents go into the gym when they get a date. This is a life style. This is not for everybody. A lot of people don't know what you mean when you say this is not for everybody. If you want to make something a part of your life you need to practice it every day."
Both Dargan and Richardson feel "Dynamite" is ready to take his career to the next level. Naazim said, "If a boxer keeps winning people will start to acknowledge it and you can teach the public to understand your style. They are going to find out that Karl Dargan is something special. We know there will be some opportunities for him after this fight but this is one step at a time for him. He's still at the level where he has to be the best Karl Dargan he can be." Dargan added, "I will be ready for anyone that can make 135. I am a veteran. I have a lot of experience. There is a difference between having amateur experience and professional experience. I am above my class with experience. I can hold my own with anybody. I am capable of beating anybody right now."