In one of the biggest moves in South African boxing in 2015, Golden Gloves has secured the services of cruiserweight contender Thabiso Mchunu.
The popular southpaw will make his Golden Gloves bow on a local tournament in December with the plan to get him a world title shot in 2016.
This follows Rodney Berman’s successful negotiations with Kathy Duva, the CEO of Main Events, who steered Mchunu into an elimination bout against Junior Makabu.
Ironically, in losing that fight, Mchunu’s stock shot up in Berman’s eyes.
“For the first six rounds he was giving Junior a boxing lesson,” said Berman. “Frankly, I had never seen him fight that well before. Although he lost, I could see a champion in the making. Junior caught him late in the fight, but Thabiso was world class and setting the pace. A few changes in strategy and he’ll be well set.”
It will be a reunion of sorts for Golden Gloves and Mchunu as it was the hard-hitting cruiserweight who captured the Super Eight title by knocking out Danie Venter in 2012.
At his best, Mchunu (16-2) is a larger version of Floyd Mayweather Jr; all slick moves and defensive smarts with a decent dig. Trained by Sean Smith, he has beaten contenders Eddie Chambers and Olanrewaju Durodola, always impressing with his fast hands. He is still highly rated by the WBC, which has him ranked as sixth contender for Grigory Drozd’s title.
He’s a crowd-pleaser and his bout against Makabu is the leading contender for Fight of the Year given how the pair rocked one another in a compelling bout in Durban in May. Mchunu was leading narrowly on points when he was dramatically knocked out in the 11th.
Said Berman: “The cruiserweight division is very exciting right now. Marco Huck’s defeat has opened things up and there are a number of eager, capable contenders vying for top spot. Mchunu is very much in that mix. There is no way he deserves to be written off after losing to Junior. I saw enough that night to know that Thabiso still has a great future. I reckon he’ll have two fights before he is positioned for a title crack sometime next year.”