Africa Boxing set to highlight the continent's hidden gems

The first ESPN Africa Boxing event of 2022, with seven bouts taking place at the EFC Training Institute in Sandton, South Africa debuts on Thursday Jan. 27.

The main event will see South Africa's Koos 'The Great Last Warrior' Sibiya taking on Botswana's Steven 'Small' Bagwasi in a Junior Lightweight contest over 10 rounds.

Sibiya comes into this bout desperate for victory, with not a single win in his last six fights. His most recent outing saw him suffer a devasting third round TKO to Russian Yauheni Dauhaliavets in September last year.

Despite that loss, though, Sibiya comes into this fight with high spirits and is eager to hand Bagwasi only the second defeat of his career.

"I am very confident heading into the bout," said Sibiya, who is fighting out of the Charitt Mukondeleli Gym.

"I'm looking forward to fighting this young guy from Botswana. We have roughly the same reach and height, but I believe experience will be the difference on the night.

"Bagwasi only has seven fights where I have fought 44 times, so I think my experience will be the difference. It will be a tight fight, but this is do or die for me. I need this win to get back on top again."

Sibiya's fight record stands at 23 wins (three by KO), 16 losses (four by KO) and five draws. His last victory was five years ago in October of 2017 when he beat Crispin Moliati over 10 rounds. Since then, he has lost five fights and drawn one against Rofhiwa Maemu in October of 2019.

His opponent on the night is the vibrant Bagwasi, who comes into this bout off a unanimous decision win over Namibian Sebastianus Natanael in December last year.

The Batswana may not be as experienced as his opponent, with his fight record standing at six wins (two by KO), one loss and no draws, but he's got a far better record. His only loss came to Ayanda Nkosi, via unanimous decision in November of 2018.

Another much-anticipated fight on the night is the Lightweight bout between South African Prince Ndlovu and Botswana's Kutlwano Ogaketse which is scheduled for eight rounds.

Ndlovu will be looking to bounce back from a defeat in his last bout after losing via unanimous decision to Sibusiso Zingange in six rounds in December of 2021, leaving his fight record at 12W-10L-4D.

"I feel strong and ready, and I am looking forward to this fight," said Ndlovu, who is boxing out of the Gyani Boxing Gym.

"I turned pro in 2009, so I've been around for a while and I believe I have more to give the sport, starting with a win against Ogaketse.

"He better be prepared because I am coming out guns blazing. This will be the Prince's night."

Ogaketse's fight record currently stands at five wins, two losses and one draw. His last bout come back in December of 2019 where he registered a unanimous points decision win over Namibian David Shinuna.

The remaining bouts on the main card feature a Featherweight contest between Gerard Titus and Sphamandla Manqatha; a female Junior Featherweight contest between Gabisile Tshabalala and Ellen Simwaka; a Lightweight contest between Clement Pilusa and Katlego Khanyisa; and a Middleweight contest between Donjuan van Heerden and Khodani Nephalane.

The fights for Africa Boxing will be broadcast live on ESPN Africa [DStv 218, Starsat 248] as well as several broadcast partners across the globe, starting from 6:00pm (CAT).

Main Card:

- Middleweight - 4 rounds: Donjuan van Heerden (1W-1L-0D) v Khodani Nephalane (Pro Debut)

- Lightweight - 4 rounds: Clement Pilusa (0W-1L-1D) v Katlego Khanyisa (1W-0L-0D)

- Female Jnr Featherweight - 6 rounds: Gabisilie Tshabalala (10W-5L-1D) v Ellen Simwaka (8W-5L-2D)

- Featherweight - 6 rounds: Gerard Titus (3W-1L-0D) v Sphamandla Manqatha (2W-0L-1D)

- Lightweight - 8 rounds: Prince Ndlovu (12W-10L-4D) v Kutlwano Ogaketse (5W-2L-1D)

- Jnr Lightweight - 10 rounds: Koos Sibiya (23W-16L-5D ) v Steven Bagwasi (6W-1L-0D)