Promoter Jeff Ellis has done it again. Despite the challenge of making compelling local matches, his headliner for the “Hurricane” tournament at Emperors Palace on April 13 ticks all the boxes.
Grant Fourie and Warren Joubert, who challenge for the SA junior-welterweight belt, are rugged all-action fighters who never fail to entertain. They’ve both been in with the best and have loyal followings. The fight also represents a crossroads: the loser will struggle to find his way back to prominence.
Ironically, the two used to be stablemates under Manny Fernandes, but are now firmly in opposite camps.
Despite being veteran campaigners, they have had just one SA championship fight between them, Joubert having lost against Sipho Taliwe for the SA junior-lightweight title five years ago.
Joubert (21-3-5, 11 KOs) is more experienced than Fourie (15-7-1, 10 KOs) and will probably start as a narrow favourite based on just two defeats in his past 10 bouts. Fourie is as tough as they come, but has been matched hard, fighting all the big names in the division, among them big-punching Xolisani Ndongeni, against whom he dropped a decision in 2013.
Fourie, the nephew of the late, great Pierre Fourie, had a great start to his pro career with 11 wins in 12 starts, but health issues derailed his ambitions and he struggled to regain his mojo after a shattering defeat to Jason Bedeman.
This fight, then, offers him a great shot at redemption, and the chance to join his uncle as a SA champion.
Joubert has also had his ups and downs, the worst of which was a first round stoppage loss to Keith Nkosi for the Africa belt three years ago. A proud local pro who always gives his all, he, too, will place great pride in holding the SA championship belt.