Long-time contender Evans Mbamba and South African Female national champion Gabisile Tshabalala will fight for World Boxing Federation World titles on a show promoted by World Sport Promotions at the Graceland Casino in Secunda, South Africa on Saturday June 29.
Former two-time world title-challenger Mbamba (18-3, 9 KOs) will take on Mexico’s Mario Briones for the vacant WBF World Super Bantamweight championship, while Tshabalala (8-0-1) will be in with Shannon O’Connell from Australia in a fight for the vacant WBF Womens World Featherweight crown.
Having only lost on points in title fights, Mario Briones (24-3-1, 18 KOs) presents a big challenge for Mbamba, but the 31 year-olds trainer, the highly regarded Nick Durandt, is sure his charge will be successful:
"This time Evans has just got so much going for him. He has lost two world title shots outside the country but this time he’ll be on home soil. He’ll have the crowd rooting for him, and he’ll be in front of his fans”, Durandt recently told South African media.
"He’s been unlucky in his previous title attempts when rather hostile conditions prevailed, but this time we don’t want to get lucky. We want the title on merit!”
While the undefeated 23-year-old Gabisile Tshabalala already has three national title fights under her belt, she will surely be facing a different level of opposition than she has been used to, when she clash with Shannon O’Connell (7-2, 4 KOs).
Nicknamed “Shotgun”, O’Connell (30) is the reigning Queensland state champion, and is no stranger to travelling abroad for big fights. In her last outing she lost a close decision to Hyun-Mi Choi in South Korea for the WBA World title.
Speaking with South African media, Tshabalala-trainer and manager Elias Mpembe is well aware of what lies ahead, but is full of confidence in his fighter, saying:
"Gabisile has got all the tools for the job, from the jab to the uppercut and speed. I’ve looked at tapes of the Aussie girl in training and sparring, so that’s enough information on the opponent.”
“Gabisile is in the best shape of her life and has been sparring with boys because I don’t have other girls in my gym. The boys have been going at her hard and strong, so that’s great for her preparation.”
"All Gabisile wants now is for South Africa’s boxing fans to come to Graceland to see her win a world title. She wants people to see why she’s regarded as the best ’pound-for-pound’ female fighter in South Africa."