Salute Boxing Academy presents the Harambee Coastal Boxing Bonanza headlined by Bethuel “Tyson” Ushona vs. Deniz Ilbay for the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Welterweight title on Saturday, June 25, at the Indoor Sport Complex in Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Following in the footsteps of respected former champions such as Roger Turner, Greg Haugen and Humberto Soto, winning the WBF World Welterweight crown would undoubtedly be a career highlight for both boxers, and both have proclaimed willingness to leave everything in the ring to come out victorious.
Former African and Namibian national champion Ushona (34) brings a fine 34-4-1 (9) record, and has a clear advantage in experience over 21-year-old Ilbay, 15-1 (8), from Cologne, Germany. While this will be the home-mans eighteenth championship fight, the visitor has only taken part in five.
But youth is a strong factor in this evenly-matched encounter, and Ilbay showed tremendous grit and determination in his sole career-loss, when he came up short on points to one of the sports most touted new names in undefeated wrecking-ball Egidijus Kavaliauskas on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley undercard in Las Vegas last April.
Most insiders expected the California-based Lithuanian, 12-0 (11) at the time, would steamroll Ilbay, but instead the youngster made something of a name for himself, proving everybody wrong by being able to compete at a very high level under the bright lights at the famous MGM Grand Garden Arena.
While he has lost decisions to class acts such as Denton Vassell (16-0) for the Commonwealth title in 2011 and former WBF and IBF World champion Jan Zaveck (31-2) in 2012, Bethuel Ushona also has victories over several accomplished fighters on his resume.
Among the notables he has defeated are former world champions Isaac Hlatshwayo (30-4-1) and Kaizer Mabuza (25-9-3), as well as tough contenders Philip Kotey (20-4-2) and Ebenezer Lamptey (24-2). Ilbay will likely not bring anything Ushona has not seen before, but the question is if youth or experience will be the deciding factor on the night.