: Ex-junior flyweight world title holder Masibulela “Hawk” Makepula’s frustrating wait appears to be over. No stranger to being a “Road Warrior”, Makepula, now a 115-pounder, will venture out of his East London home base to face Filippino Jun Talape (11-3) in a Branco Sports Productions card at the popular Graceland Hotel, Casino and Country Club resort in Secunda, South Africa on Friday, February 10, 2006.
Makepula was originally scheduled to defend his title on November 25th last year in South Africa’s East London, but the fight was beset by problems from the outset by the withdrawal of two scheduled opponents for various reasons. The popular Eastern Cape warrior, rated by all four world bodies, looks well on his way to challenging for a credible world title before the end of the year.
At first glance, the Filippino’s ring record (11-3) looks very misleading when weighed up against the experience of Makepula (26-3), but the wily “Hawk” refuses to be duped into a false sense of complacency. “I refuse to be mislead by this man’s record or the fact he is a lot less experienced than me,” said Makepula. “ Many before me -- and many in the future -- will learn that there are no easy paydays in this game and one cannot take anything for granted”, he added.
Makepula can talk with authority on the subject. He remembers all too well how a relatively unheralded Filippino, Roly Lunas, came to this country on February 25th last year to fight Makepula with a modest record of 17-4 and gave Hawk one of the toughest fights of his career. That humdinger subsequently went on to feature amongst BSA’s nominations for 2005 “Fight of the Year” at the annual BSA Awards last week at Emperors Palace in Gauteng.
Makepula is also unphased by the prospect of making his first-ever appearance in Mpumalanga, knowing full well he has been very well received by the boxing public nationwide. Makepula has already stepped into the ring in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal.
The Graceland undercard, features a whole host of Mpumalanga’s favourite boxing “sons”, including Anthony Tshehla, Lawrence Ngobeni, Patrick Masango as well as BSA’s unbeaten prospect, ex-Olympian Kgotso Motau.
Motau (7-0), currently ranked 9th in the country, will feature in the main supporting bout when he comes up against the more experienced Emmanuel Duma (18 fights, 9 wins, 8 losses, 1 draw), presently ranked 4th in SA.
Former SA and WBC International champion Tshehla (30 fights, 24 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw), will be up against national number 4 Godfrey Nzimande (2 losses in 16 fights). Many believe Tshehla is taking a huge gamble considering he’s already been approved as the challenger for reining champion Ali Funeka’s national junior lightweight title.
Promoters Branco and Baby Jake Matala have lined up a nice surprise for their first tournament of 2006. All fans attending the International Championship tournament on February 10th will receive a free high-quality glossy boxing calendar with all of the twelve BSP’s international and national champions.
“We are trying to give something back to the loyal Mpumalanga boxing fans who have supported us so well over the years and beesides the glossy calendar offer, we have also managed to peg the admission prices back to just R30-00, which is very reasonable for an international championship fight,” said four-time former world champion Matlala.