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“People here don’t really know me […] believe me, he won’t take my belt.” – Jeffrey Mathebula
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IBF super bantamweight champion Jeffrey Mathabula (26-3-2, 14 KOs) to this point, has been the division’s push-up bra; its best kept secret. As a professional boxer, he has only fought once outside of South Africa, a controversial split decision loss to hometown champ Celestino Caballero in Panama. A Filipino tried to hand him his first loss in Johannesberg back in 2006, but the kid, Aaron Margarejo, struggled to even win a round.
This Saturday when Mathebula locks horns with WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, Jr. (28-1-0, 18 KOs), the consensus among boxing luminaries is that the much taller Mathebula is coming in as an underdog. Mathebula vows to prove all the experts wrong.
“Expect a guy who is taller, who is smarter, who will be everything,” Mathebula said in an interview by RingTv. “Everything Nonito’s got, I got it twice. He’s a good boxer, but believe me, I’m better than him.”
Mathebula also quashed any doubts about fighting for only the second time outside of South Africa as a pro. “I’ve been in major fights. I started boxing when I was 9, now I’m 32. I stayed as an amateur for a long time, and then I went to the Olympics in 2000. I went to Sydney, I went to Cuba, so I have experience going outside and fighting people,” he said.
Despite having 3 losses in his record, Mathebula has never been soundly beaten in any of his pro fights. His amateur record of 101 wins against only 4 losses speaks for itself. This guy can really box. And with a good 5 inch advantage working in his favor against Donaire, this fight may very well prove to be more competitive than what most people think. Donaire is used to being the taller man, and the better boxer inside the ring, and though it is certain who won the genetics contest in height, it remains to be seen who’s the better man in terms of skills.
“I’m a natural jr. featherweight. I came from flyweight to jr. featherweight, so he’s facing a natural featherweight. It’s going to be tough for him,” reminded Mathebula. Donaire will rely on his quickness, speed, power and timing to try and nullify Mathebula’s advantages, or else it could be a long night for the Filipino Flash and his fans.
- CLICK HERE to watch my interview with Nonito Donaire, Jr. on Jeffrey Mathebula plus some sparring clips.
– dSG – (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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