By: Bongani Magasela –
ANY challenger has as much chance as the champion to win a fight, whether it is a voluntary or mandatory defence, says Dingaan “The Rose of Soweto” Thobela.
Thobela, who is now a promoter, was explaining why he and associate Nestor Tobias took an unnecessary gamble by pitting their charge, World Boxing Organisation (WBO) bantamweight champion Paulus “The Rock” Ambunda, against Japan’s Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda in a voluntary defence.
The fight will take place at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino in the Philippines on August 1.
Ambunda, from Namibia, won the title in March after outclassing Pungluang Sor Singyu from Thailand over 12 fiercely contested rounds in Namibia. Thobela and Tobias, who trade under the banner of MTC Tobias Sunshine Promotions, staged that fight.
These former fighters, who were trained by Norman Hlabane, should have chosen an easier opponent for their charge, bearing in mind that Ambunda is not under any obligation to face a highly rated opponent.
Kameda is a dangerous boxer who has held the World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth Intercontinental super-bantamweight and the WBC Youth and Silver bantamweight belts. Rated No 5 by the WBO, he is undefeated after 27 fights with 18 quick wins.
“Being in the top 10 says a lot about any contender; they have equal chances like the champion. This is also a vote of confidence in our fighter; the exposure is huge and the purse money is very good,” said Thobela.
He said they did not want Ambunda to sit idle, waiting to make a mandatory defence. “We had to avoid that while still putting our heads together regarding getting finance for his defence. Remember, we had to run around to get finance for Ambunda’s fight against Sor Singyu.
“We are not worried because the fight will take place in a neutral country.”
Tobias, who doubles as Ambunda’s trainer, said: “Fighting away from home is never easy; anything can happen. We therefore hope that the WBO will appoint competent officials — preferably not from Africa or Asia where the two boxers come from — so as to avoid excuses afterwards. Judges were from Europe and America when Ambunda fought Sor Singyu in Namibia.”
Ambunda is a formidable fighter in his own right. The Athens 2004 Olympian and former WBO Africa champion has defeated a number of South Africa’s top fighters, including Sthembele Kibiti (former South African and African Boxing Union mini-flyweight champion), Klaas Mboyane (former bantamweight titleist) and Bongani Mahlangu (former WBA Pan African champion). He is undefeated after 20 fights with 10 short-route wins.