Martin Power will aim to add the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight crown to the British title he already owns when he meets unknown South African Tshifhiwa Munyai at London's York Hall on Thursday night, June 29, 2006. Power, 19-0 with 8 KOs, was in action just 30 days ago when he delivered a career-best performance by stopping previously unbeaten Isaac Ward in round eight of his second title defense. In a typically energetic performance, Power forced Ward to touch down in the opening 30 seconds following a perfect counter right hand. He never surrendered his advantage, doubling up his jab and peppering the outgunned Ward with two-fisted bursts in a display of timing and tenacity. The game challenger took a beating in round seven, and after he was badly shaken by a booming overhand right in the eighth, referee Ian-John Lewis had seen enough. Power had promised an early finish beforehand and proved as good as his word.
The ease of Power's victory was a far cry from his previous British title struggles with Dale Robinson and Ian Napa - fights which Martin could conceivably have lost. Ironically, Power was booked to meet Napa again in a British title rematch only for the Hackney man to withdraw with an ear injury. Had Power repeated his triumph over Napa he would have secured the Lonsdale belt for keeps.
Nevertheless, the Camden Town warrior has an opportunity to build upon his current career momentum by claiming the vacant Commonwealth title following the stripping of former champion Joseph Agbeko. Agbeko, who won the belt in October 2004, was previously booked to defend against Power himself two
months later but went missing. Having failed to make a solitary defense, the Commonwealth Council's patience with Agbeko has finally been exhausted and the title declared vacant.
Opposing Power on Thursday is mystery man Tshifhiwa Munyai. The South African will bring to the ring an unbeaten 10-fight record (9-0-1 with 5 KOs) compiled against virtual unknowns in Johannesburg. He has yet to travel beyond six rounds. According to show promoter, Frank Maloney, Munyai is a tall and accurate puncher who was in training to box a ten-rounder in South Africa next week when he got the call to travel to London.
Munyai, nicknamed "The Atomic Spider", turned pro in December 2003 and recorded four-straight victories before being held to a four-round draw by Peter Ndou in February 2005. Munyai has since won five straight, three of them by knockout, with by far his best victory coming against former South
African super-flyweight champion Nkosana Vaaltein on points over six rounds. Munyai has fought only once in 2006 but will in arrive in shape, having outpointed Boyboy Dlamini over six on May 26.
The South African could be anything, but the feeling is he will certainly have to be something to derail an in-form Power. Martin has boxed 42 rounds in his last four contests alone. In contrast, the inexperienced Munyai has only competed in 33 rounds in his entire career to date! It's always a
gamble when a boxer elects to fight twice in a month, Power runs the risk of overtraining and being flat once the bell rings. However, his eighth round destruction of Ward was his first outing of the year - a fight Power won with something to spare.
Despite knowing precious little about his opponent, Power isn't the type to be content to have a look in the early stages. Expect the British champion to get straight down to business and set a blistering pace. Martin's leaky defence will ensure that he will be caught with punches in his eagerness to
land his own, but his sheer determination should ultimately see him home.
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