Mchunu aims for world title title
Rising cruiserweight star is already looking beyond World Cup glory
Meet the last man standing.
Last Saturday, Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu was crowned the African Boxing Union cruiserweight champion in the final of the Nashua Super 8 Last Man Standing tournament in a contest against Danie Venter.
Mchunu knocked out the experienced Venter in the fifth round. The 23-year-old is now the talk of the town in boxing circles for his clinical talent and calculated moves.
In his last five fights, he has twice defeated two strong opponents in Flo Simba and Danie Venter.
The well-built Mchunu attributes his success to his father, former boxer Alex Mchunu, whom he says introduced him to boxing at a young age.
He said: “I started boxing at the age of eight when I used to accompany my father to the gym and he started teaching me the basics.”
The naturally right-handed fighter said he turned southpaw because he used to emulate his father, who is left-handed.
The Cato Ridge-born pugilist believes the local boxing platform is too small for him. Speaking to City Press at Smiths Boxercise Gym in Fourways, he said: “I have conquered locally and my eyes are now on the World Boxing Council World Cup next year.”
The former South African cruiserweight champion is scheduled to represent Africa in the cruiserweight division in the World Cup that takes place in February next year.
Aside from the World Cup, the boxer, now rated among the top 10 global cruiserweight boxers, has even bigger dreams.
“My ultimate goal is to unify two major world titles in the next five years but by the end of the coming year, I would like to have a shot at the WBC cruiserweight title,” said the counterpunching specialist.
His promoter, Showpony Promotions boss Damian Michael, is in talks with various sanctioning bodies and promoters about Mchunu taking on his counterparts for a world title.
He was also an amateur soccer player and is a hip-hop musician, with an album coming out in December.
Mchunu’s amateur-boxing track record is successful and solid. He has fought at all amateur levels, from district
to international, including participating in the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark where he won gold.
Overall, Mchunu boasts four international amateur medals.
His hopes to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were shattered when his father “couldn’t agree on certain issues with the South African team coach at the 2007 All Africa Games and, right after that, he turned me professional”.
The ever-confident Mchunu said his detractors motivate him to produce greater wonders inside the ring.
“I’m more deadly when the crowd favours my opponents, as was the case in my fights with Simba and Venter because I want people to realise that I am the best,” he said.
He acknowledges that one of his best tactical weapons in the ring is the shoulder-defence strategy, similar to that used by American boxer Floyd Mayweather.
But he maintains he adopted this style “long before he knew about Mayweather”.
He said tactical nous and outside-the-ring discipline is something his father instilled in him. He vows that “by the end of 2013, a world title in my accolades list is guaranteed”.
His younger brother, Samkelo Mchunu, is also a boxer in the making.