It will be David versus Goliath when Port Elizabeth’s Thembani Okolo takes on experienced Deejay Kriel for the WBC international strawweight boxing title at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park next week.
The strong-punching Okolo, 22, has had an impressive career since his debut in 2014, with eight wins and two losses from 10 fights.
He is known for his right hook that has dropped four of his opponents in his professional career.
Kriel, 22, of Boksburg, has chalked up 12 wins, with a single loss.
He produced a mature performance to win the WBC International minimumweight title in a 12-round unanimous points decision over Dexter Alimento, from the Philippines, at Emperors Palace in July.
Having recently won a fight against East London’s Sebelomzi Zimele, by a unanimous points decision in a tournament in Mthatha, Okolo has moved up to 68th in world rankings.
Kriel is in 32nd position in their minimumweight division.
Okolo has set his sights on winning the fight by technical knockout.
But he will face an uphill battle on Saturday next week against Kriel, who has won his last four fights.
“I am amped to get in the ring with Kriel. I have been preparing for this fight all year,” Okolo said.
“I am not intimidated by his records, because Kriel has not met a fighter like me.
“I plan to shock everyone who doubts my abilities,” he said.
His manager, Mzandile shared Okolo’s confidence.
“We have been hungry for this opportunity and we hope to make Port Elizabeth proud,” Sidina said.
“We hope this bout shows the strides we’ve made in trying to revive boxing in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, as we were once known as the province’s boxing mecca.”
The bill is sanctioned by Boxing SA and will also feature East London’s Simphiwe Vetyeka, who will clash with Lerato Dlamini in a 10-round super featherweight title fight.
In other bouts at Emperors Palace next weekend, Azinga Fuzile will take on Tshifiwa Munyai in a featherweight title match.
Patrick Mukala will face Ryno Liebenberg in a battle for the super middleweight title.