Johannesburg – Reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) silver cruiserweight champion Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu says the much-anticipated grudge rematch between him and Ilunga Makabu Jnr is no longer a priority for him as he is looking at other opportunities.
The highly rated stocky fighter outclassed former Olympic gold medalist Evngeny Tishchenko in his backyard at the RCC Boxing Academy in Ekaterinburg, Russia, last week. Mchunu, who is at the top of the WBC world ratings, successfully defended his WBC B-grade crown and earned a crack at Makabu’s WBC cruiserweight world title.
Their clash was also a WBC final eliminator for the cruiserweight world title. According to Mchunu, despite being a mandatory challenger to the SA-based Congolese titlist, their grudge rematch might not see the light of the day because he has other options than fighting his conqueror.
“The fact that our promotional interests are handled by different promoters may prove to be difficult for us to cross swords again. At the moment, I have about three options – one is to defend my title, the second to challenge for the World Boxing Organisation world title held by Lawrance Okolie or go for Makabu Jnr’s WBC world title.
“The rematch with Makabu is not a priority, if it happens it’s fine. And also if it does not happen, it’s still okay. It’s been more than five years of being asked the same question about the rematch.
“Yes, I understand that it’s important to avenge the defeat. I could have won that fight easy, but losing it doesn’t mean all other opportunities must be shelved for Makabu’s rematch. I will look at other offers and go with the best,” said Mchunu.
The 33-year-old fighter from KwaZulu-Natal has signed with Russia’s RCC Boxing Promotions for his next big fight while his rival is promoted by American legendary boxing promoter Don King.
Mchunu has vowed to continue working hard for his next big battle so that he gets a better contract with the Russian promoter. This was his second consecutive victory in Russia. On his first trip, the skillful southpaw stunned former world champion Denis Lebedev in December 2019.
Mchunu believes that it was his top-class performance that sent Lebedev straight to retirement and won him a special place in the heart of Russian boxing enthusiasts.
“I guess my stunning performance against Lebedev led them to give me this contract. I think after that fight they regretted not giving me the same contract I have now.
“I will rest for two to three weeks and return to prepare for the next battle.”
Makabu’s mentor, Damien Durandt, was not keen on being involved in a verbal sparring about the rematch between the two African cruiserweight giants.
By Malibongwe Bhido