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Boxing has become the latest sport in South Africa that will welcome back fans to tournaments. This will start with the No Love Lost Tournament staged by Golden Gloves Boxing in December at Emperors Palace. The blockbuster event will feature, amongst others, three major fights.
After two years of no spectators at boxing tournaments due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the doors have been opened.
500 fans will be allowed at the No Love Lost tournament in December.
Boxing Promoter, Rodney Berman says they had to take advantage of the opportunity after the government agreed to open up sporting events for the public. He is confident that numbers will increase in the near future.
“I think it’s experimental. I think they are looking to see how crowds behave if there is going to be a fourth wave. Hopefully it is going to open up,” says Rodney Berman.
Berman spoke highly of recently crowned SA Champion, Shervontaigh Koopman, who takes on Habib Ahmed from Ghana. The two fighters will challenge for the IBF Junior Middleweight All Africa title. Both boxers are highly rated in their respective countries, with Ahmed ranked second in Ghana.
“He recently fought for the world title, it’s a major step up for Koopman but also for Africa. It’s a terrific show for the whole of Africa” Berman added.
Ahmed is not a closed book to Koopman.
“I don’t think he will be able to handle my speed. I think the reach as well. I’m taller than him, I think I will use my reach and speed,” says Koopman.
Another big fight for the night will be between Brandon Thysse and Roarke Knapp. It’s a re-match after Thysse overpowered Knapp the last time they met in their junior middleweight fight. Although both fighters are oozing with confidence, it was Knapp who was bold about his intentions.
“Winning this fight will confirm all the believes I have in myself and get the challenge out of the way. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business,” says Knapp.
Ricardo Malajika will seek redemption when he challenges Sabelo Ngebinyana in a junior bantamweight fight. In their last fight, Ngebinyana won by split decision. It was Malajika’s first defeat in nine fights.
“This is a fight where I need to step up, where I have to get my crown back. Basically, a nice fight. I want to prove to the world that I can be the greatest and I will be the greatest,” says Malajika.
Ngebinyana believes victory could secure him a fight against an international opponent next.