Big-punching Mukala aiming to make a name for himself

Patrick Mukala, right, is looking to claim the scalp of Ryno Liebenberg when they fight on October 21. Pic: N-SQUARED

Patrick Mukala may be the best SA-based fighter you’ve never heard of.

That’s because he hasn’t featured on any high-profile bills and doesn’t shout his mouth off.

Next month, the quietly-spoken aspirant gets his crack at stardom when he fights former world-ranked light-heavyweight Ryno Liebenberg in a super-middleweight 10-rounder at Emperors Palace.

The DRC-born fighter is officially 9-0 (8 KOs), but his pro record excludes 11 bouts (10 KOs) he had in his native DRC before moving to SA.

Experienced former pro boxer Ashley Fourie trains the 23-year-old and says that Mukala is headed for the top.

“The day he walked into my gym I knew he was special. I drove home like a maniac . . . I believed I had a future champion on my hands.”

Trainer Ashley Fourie with his prize pupil. Pic: N-SQUARED

Mukala is a natural puncher whose ability is rooted in his fierce dedication to training. Routine 20km runs are supplemented by a brutal gym programme, which he never shirks. Even when he’s left alone, he trains like a demon, determined to be fitter than his opponents.

His best win came in his most recent fight in Botswana, against 38-fight veteran Daniel Wanyonyi, who was taken apart in three rounds.

“This kid is so good,” says Fourie. “Ryno says he’s fought no-one, but the guys he’s knocked off have all been number one or two contenders. We’ve done our homework; the fans are in for a big surprise.”

Having recently sparred with Isaac Chilemba and mixed it up with an array of DRC boxers, Mukala will conclude his training with a camp in Port Edward that starts tomorrow. Fourie will have him running along the Mtamvuna River and chopping wood in the nearby forest.

“Fitness won’t be a problem,” Fourie insists. “Patrick has wanted this all his life. This is his chance, and he won’t be wasting it.”