Grant Fourie can’t wait to throw off the ring rust when he goes to battle for the first time since May 2010 against journeyman Koos Sibiya at the “Pride and Honour” tournament at Emperors Palace on Monday evening.
Apart from showcasing the skills of some of South Africa’s best up and comers, the African Pride-Golden Gloves bill is also being held as a tribute to SA heavyweight great Pierre Coetzer.
“Fireball” Fourie has struggled with illness in the recent past, but he has since dedicated himself to training and is said to be in excellent shape.
The nephew of the late Pierre Fourie, Grant was a shooting star in local boxing before two losses and illness stalled his career, but both he and Golden Gloves are keen to rekindle the fire that made him such an exciting prospect.
He will find a willing and able opponent in Sibiya, an experienced journeyman who always gives his all.
As ever with promoter Jeff Ellis’s shows, the entire tournament features well-matched, exciting young fighters.
The pick of the action ought to be Ryno Liebenberg against Tineyi Maridzo at super-middleweight. Both are big bangers not given to fighting off the backfoot.
The Zimbabwean’s claim to fame is giving Mikey Schultz a pair of hidings, while Liebenberg won a war in a non-title clash against Tshepang Mohale that saw his stock shoot through the roof.
Johnny “The Hurricane” Muller makes a welcome return, having his first fight since November and his subsequent ill-fated “non-event” against overweight Ran Nakash. Muller is itching for action and will get it against Khangelani Hlongwane in a catchweight six-rounder.
Much of the tournament focus has been on Jason Bedeman, having his first fight since being stabbed earlier this year. Bedeman is itching for action and says he is eager to impress against hard man Takalane Dangale, who gave Warren Joubert two tough fights.
Joubert himself tangles with lightweight contender Ashley Dlamini in a lightweight six-rounder that has “classic” written all over it. These two alone are usual worth the price of entry and given their let-it-all-hang-out style, an explosive bout is in the offing.
Hot-running cruiserweight Kevin Lerena, meanwhile, will be looking to extend his KO streak to four against Clifford Smith. Despite his youth and inexperience, Lerena has already built up a decent-sized fan base that is sure to swell with each passing fight.
In other action, highly touted Paul Kamanga will fight Sibusiso Nosilela over four rounds at junior-welterweight, while debutants Thabang Ramagole and Collen Tloubatla will do battle at flyweight.
Boxing starts at 7.30pm.