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Baby Jake benefit sold out


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Baby Jake benefit sold out


It's a table sell-out for Golden Gloves' box-and-dine “Big Little Men” tournament at Emperors Palace on Thursday night.


Promoter Rodney Berman hopes to raise R500 000 for ailing boxing legend Baby Jake Matlala.


This was announced at a pre-tournament press conference at Emperors Palace on Friday afternoon at which the pint-sized 4ft 10in four-times former world champion was once more too ill to attend.


“But he'll be at Emperors Palace on Thursday night,” said Berman.


“He told me come hell or high water, he's going to see the IBO junior fyweight title fight between holder, Hekkie Budler, and Gideon Buthelezi that has been arranged in his honour.”


While the diminutive Matlala is nothing like the larger than life, jack-in-the-box personality that was a byword among South African boxing fans during a 25-year career, associate promoter Jeff Ellis said his health had shown distinct improvement from the time he first suffered from pneumonia and compications three months ago and ended up in the ICU ward on three occasions.


Dubbed “The Little Big Men” bill and featuring a main bout in a division in which Matlala largely featured, Budler and Buthelezi, both IBO champions in different divisions, will resume an intriguing rivalry that began with two fights as amateurs.


“I'm going to make it a hat-trick in more emphatic fashion,” said junior fyweight champion Budler while referring to his two narrow victories in the amateur division against the IBO minimum weight champion.


Buthelezi countered in characteristic, composed fashion that he had waited a long time to put the record straight.


“I'm not intending to miss this opportunity that has landed in my lap.” said Buthelezi.


Berman said the winner woud be rewarded with a high-profiled fight on ESPN's international boxing channel in a tournament staged by Banner Promotions – an associate organisation of Golden Gloves in the United States.


The same will apply in the not-too-distant future to heavyweight prodigy Flo Simba if he maintains his eight-bout unbeaten record against Zimbabwean Sting Gondorenda when he shares the limelight on Thursday night with Budler and Buthelezi – and Matlala, of course. – Sapa

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