‘The Hammer’ predicts a new welter champ

Thulani Mbenge and Shaun Ness square off ahead of this weekend’s much-awaited clash. Pic: N-SQUARED

The most successful welterweight in SA boxing history is picking Thulani Mbenge to end Shaun Ness’ reign as champion at Emperors Palace this weekend.

The pair head the “Showstoppers” tournament on Sunday afternoon, with the action broadcast live on SuperSport 9.

Harold “The Hammer” Volbrecht, a top trainer who defended his SA crown 19 times while in his prime, believes that the unbeaten Mbenge will outbox the gritty Ness.

“He’s got something special in him, he can be a very good fighter,” said Volbrecht, adding that the prospect needed polishing.

“He’s a nice talent, but if I compare him to someone like Brandon Thysse, Brandon is more natural and easier on the eye. But Mbenge is champion material and will be very good if he can improve his technique.”

Volbrecht has first-hand knowledge of Mbenge’s quality, having been in the corner when Eric Mukadi fought him at Emperors in December. Mukadi was going toe to toe, only to injure his ankle, forcing his withdrawal with the fight delicately poised.

“Ness is going to be fit, which is his best attribute. He has great heart. Whenever I pop into Colin Nathan’s gym, he’s there training or sparring. He comes from a boxing family and is very dedicated. I know he’ll give his all, but I still believe Mbenge will have a little too much for him.”

Meanwhile, Volbrecht was raving about the form of his lightweight prospect Lucky Monyebane, who fights veteran Ashley Dlamini on the undercard. Volbrecht says Monyebane is much improved, conceding that he will have to be at his best to beat a wily campaigner like Dlamini, who would be a test for any lightweight.