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Boxing | South Africa

Thabiso Mchunu © Gallo Images

Rock to rumble in Mandela's honour

Thabiso Mchunu has been included on the bill for the Rumble on the Rock tournament to be held next year.

In the main bout, Chris van Heerden will defend his IBO welterweight title against England's Matthew Hatton.

Showpony Promotions chief executive Damian Michael said on Thursday an opponent for Mchunu, who is nicknamed The Rock, would be named later.

Discussions were being held with the owners of the Cape Town Stadium to stage the tournament. "We're also looking at Gauteng venues such as the Soweto Stadium and the FNB Stadium," Michael said.

"But irrespective of the final decision, we would like the weigh-in and a remembrance ceremony to be staged on Robben Island a couple of days before the tournament."

Mchunu won the Last Man Standing Super 8 cruiserweight series when he knocked out Danie Venter at Emperors Palace last weekend.

His performances in the Super Eight earned him an appearance in the tournament to be held in March as a tribute to former president Nelson Mandela.

Hatton and his father, who trains the brother for former world champion Ricky Hatton, were brought out to South Africa especially for the official launch of the tournament.

Matthew, who has 51 professional fights behind him, said he had seen some of Van Heerden's fights and respected him as a talented boxer. Van Heerden has fought only 21 times as a professional.

"I'm sure it's going to be a special, explosive affair – no tickling contest. I'll be the winner, but so will the crowd who witness it, Hatton said.”

He fought for the same IBO title a couple of years ago and believes he should have won. I’ll return to win the belt that should already belong to me," he said.

Van Heerden said jokingly he had acquired a supply of pain-killers to offer Hatton after the fight. “The Heat will be all over Hatton. I'm not sure he is aware of what he is letting himself in for," Van Heerden said.

"I'm not predicting a knockout, but I am certain of a victory."


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