Chastened by defeat in two of his past four fights, Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu believes he will emerge a better boxer after absorbing the lessons of those painful losses.
The slick southpaw fights New York-based Constantin Bejenaru in the US later this month for the WBC International title, a short cut back into the elite of the cruiserweight division for the winner.
“I learned so much,” he said of defeats to Junior Makabu and Oleksandr Usyk, the latter arguably the division’s best. “I should have won easily against Makabu, but emotion got the better of me. It was my fault . . . I couldn’t recover from that. And the Usyk fight was at short notice. There just wasn’t enough time to prepare. This is the nature of boxing, but it was a costly lesson.”
Mchunu and his team leave for Connecticut a week from today. The boxer is putting the finishing touches to his preparation, satisfied that he is leaving nothing to chance. He’s done the rounds in the gym and honed his game plan.
He’s watched clips of the unbeaten Moldovan on YouTube, reckoning that “he isn’t special”.
“He’ll try exert a lot of pressure, that’s clear. He’ll try and push the pace, but that’s fine.”
Indeed, at his best, such as in his recent bout against Johnny Muller, Mchunu is arguably the craftiest SA boxer of them all. Apart from being a lefty, he’s fast and unorthodox with a tricky side-on style.
He believes he is just a fight or two away from again challenging for a world title, especially with the division having been fired up by the Super Series.
“It’s gonna open doors for us,” said the 29-year-old. “I’m gonna be back with the top guys soon. I’m focusing on this immediate contest, but I want to be in the mix. Guys don’t want to fight me because of my skills, which I use to frustrate them. But I’ll continue to press for the big fights. I’m older and wiser.”
November 25, in that case, will tell us all we need to know.