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March 22, 2018


Press Release: Although there was talk of bringing in undefeated Constantin Benejaru, it will be Cuba's Mike Perez who comes to South Africa to challenge Thabiso Mchunu at Emperors Palace on June 23rd. Perez (23-3-1) will become the first pro fighter from Cuba to box in South Africa. Perez is a former heavyweight contender who now makes his home in Ireland. He fits promoter Rodney Berman’s requirement of a top name for Mchunu (18-4), who is desperate to make his way back into the elite of the cruiserweight division. 

Bejenaru’s lack of enthusiasm for the challenge forced Berman to look elsewhere.

Whether Perez is the best option for Mchunu himself sense is another matter. Known as “The Rebel”, Perez throws bombs and has made serious dents along the way. His 2013 fight with Magomed Abdusalamov, a bruising, brutal affair that ended tragically for the Russian, who is now permanently disabled, but it offered stark confirmation of Perez’s power and durability.

Perez's subsequent defeat to top heavyweight Alexander Povetkin made him change tack and drop down to cruiserweight.

After two years of inactivity, the southpaw took 29 seconds to smash Slovakia’s Viktor Biscak, but he subsequently dropped a decision to Mairis Breidis in the World Boxing Super Series. Undeterred, he bounced back in devastating fashion last month with a 30-second blowout of Pablo Matias Magrini.

Said Berman: “I was in New York when he fought Abdusalamov and couldn’t believe the fight the pair put up. Perez is a very dangerous contender and Thabiso will have to be super-smart to beat him. [A win will be] something for Thabiso to aim for. Beating Perez will give him great credibility.”

Cuba’s boxing legacy is, of course, world renowned, the country having produced great fighters the like of Felix Savon, Kid Chocolate, Yoan Pablo Hernandez and many others.

The fight is a tremendous addition to a bill that is fast taking shape and will be headlined by Thulani Mbenge in a welterweight bout.

Ryno Liebenberg will also feature in a high-profile international bout, as will Rowan Campbell – details soon.


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