Boxers declare war before finale of triple-fight thriller

Linda Ximba

Trilogies are a favourite for boxing fans. Most recently, the three bouts between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder caught the attention of fans across the world.

Now, South Africa will have its own showdown.

Local boxing lovers are already on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the third and final clash between Thato Bonokoae and Innocent Mantengu in Mpumalanga on Friday.

At stake will be Bonokoane’s title: the WBF Intercontinental junior featherweight belt.

This third fight is set to provide a final winner as the previous two meetings left fans divided.

In their first encounter for the vacant SA junior featherweight crown, judges made a mistake when they declared the fight a draw. The rules stipulate that a winner must be decided on the day because the title was vacant.

Many felt Bonokoane did enough to claim it, while others gave it to Mantengu.

In their second bout, Mantengu emerged victorious. But still there was a chorus of angry voices from some sections of the public.

Now as they gear up to face off in their third instalment, both boxers have declared war.

“The gloves are off,” barked Bonokwane from Gauteng.

“It’s time I settle the score and show the country I am the best junior featherweight. Mantangu has been lucky but this time I’ll shut him up.”

Mantengu from KZN jabbed back, saying his foe must accept he still has a long way to go.

“I’m coming for his belt after I lost mine early this year. I have been around and I’ll show him that he is a laitie – nothing more than a small boy.”

Bonokoane boasts a combination of endurance and strength which he will add to his agility and speed.

Mantengu, a teacher by profession, is blessed with quick hands, sharp eyesight and skills.

On the undercard of this Joy4Joy Promotions tournament at the Banquet Hall in Middelburg, is an SA lightweight showdown. Champ Tshifhiwa Munyai defends against a mandatory challenger Aphiwe Mboyiya. Xolani Mgidi and Sam Sithole will battle it out for the Mpumalanga junior-welterweight belt.

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