Star turn for August 10 line-up

Rowan Campbell piles on the pressure against Malkhaz Sujashvili in his most recent fight. PIC: Frennie Shivambu

With a month to go until “Reach for the Stars” at Emperors Palace, on August 10, Golden Gloves today announced the full line-up at a media conference in southern Joburg.

With the focus on emerging talent, the card doesn’t disappoint – there isn’t a bad fight.

“It’s a little different, and there will be something for everyone,” remarked promoter Rodney Berman, adding that the Reach for a Dream Foundation would benefit from the event.

The tournament is headlined by an exciting fight for the SA super-middleweight championship between unbeaten Rowan Campbell and Renson Hobyane.

Despite having no amateur background, Campbell has emerged as a top prospect under trainer Peter Smith, running up a 7-0 record. He’s now ranked number two and will face a tough test of his credentials against first-ranked Renson Hobyane, who began his career five years ago.

There’s a real crowd-pleaser on the undercard with Wynand Mulder against Wade Groth for the interim SA middleweight belt. It’s again number one against number two.

Curiously, current champion Barend van Rooyen’s appeal for use of a banned substance will take place earlier on the day of the tournament. He was initially stripped of the belt and then reinstated pending his appeal. Given that he isn’t appealing the ban, but rather the length of it – two years – it’s likely that the victor on August 10 will be elevated to full champion.

Much-hyped cruiserweight prospect Keaton Gomes, a former amateur heavyweight champion, will enter the paid ranks against Moses Bila. Gomes has spent the past three months in training camp under Smith, working with Kevin Lerena and Campbell, among others.

At junior-welterweight, unbeaten varsity students Jabulani Makhense and Siya Mabene will duel over four rounds. Makhense is trained by former WBU cruiserweight champion Sebastian Rothmann, while Mabene is looked after by former light-heavyweight hard man Lionel Hunter.

The show will start at 7pm with an opener between exciting Ayabonga “Jay” Sonjica, unbeaten in four outings (three KOs), against veteran Deon Mbumbana. There is much hype around Sonjica, not least because he was a top amateur and is a stablemate of IBO welterweight champion Thulani Mbenge.

Tickets are available via Jeff Ellis – afriring@tiscali.co.za