Clash of the heavyweights to come

Two of the country’s best heavyweights, Corrie Sanders and Osborne Machimana, will clash at Emperors Palace on February 2 next year, it was announced by promoter Rodney Berman on Tuesday.

The tantalising showdown for Machimana’s South African heavyweight title will head a boxing extravaganza also featuring buoyant IBO featherweight champion Thomas Mashaba against an opponent yet to be confirmed.

Mashaba has emerged as one of Berman’s top stars after his sensational ninth-round knockout of American Erik Aiken Monday last week.

“He is our superstar and we have great things lined up for him,” Berman said.

The showdown between Sanders and Machimana will likely spell the end of one of the two fighters.

Aged 41, Sanders, a former WBO and WBU champion, is on a comeback and has reunited with Berman. He fought once under Berman, beating Daniel Bispo when he injured his hand, putting on hold his plans to move into the world heavyweight mix.

Although Berman had promised to bill Sanders in the United States in his next fight, he said a bout against the rejuvenated Machimana would be a big attraction in the country.

“It has been some time since two of the country’s heavyweights were matched and I think this will be a terrific fight,” Berman said.

Machimana has revived his career since joining Nick Durandt, and has now won his past two bouts with impressive stoppages, stopping Take Els in five rounds in August before putting away Pieter Cronje in seven rounds last week Monday.

Sanders’s manager, Harold Volbrecht, said the hand injury has healed and Sanders is ready to fight at any time.

“This will be a good fight for Corrie and Machimana,” he said.
“Both will gain a lot from this bout as it will tell us if Sanders is indeed ready to reclaim his former glory, or if Machimana is indeed destined for greatness.”

Sanders caused a major upset in 2003 when he knocked out Vladimir Klitschko in three rounds to capture the WBO crown. Klitschko rebounded from that defeat and is now currently considered the best in the world.

Volbrecht said Klitschko is chasing a rematch with Sanders to avenge that defeat. “But Corrie cannot simply fight Klitschko without properly testing himself, and we accepted the bout against Machimana.”—Sapa

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