Tshifhiwa Munyai Arrives In London For Power Rematch
24.01.07 - Robert Macleod, trainer of Commonwealth Bantamweight Champion Tshifhiwa Munyai, sits in a quiet corner of a small pub near the Elephant and Castle in London where the pair await Munyai’s second title defence. Just hours earlier they had flown in from South Africa and were feeling the effects of the climate change as they prepare for their forthcoming clash with British Champion Martin Power ..
Article posted on 24.01.2007
"We got on the plane in a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and when we got off here is was 2 degrees," Macleod began. "The weather is big problem. It took 15 minutes of skipping to get Tshifhiwa warm enough to start sweating when we trained earlier.
"The weather really scares me; Power doesn't," he said referring to the much anticipated rematch with the former champion.
In June 2006 Munyai, 12-0-1 (7 KO's), had been a late replacement for Ian Napa, who was forced to forgo the bout due to an ear infection. Recognising this as an opportunity to hit the big time and confident of the ability of the young man from Johannesburg, they grabbed the chance with both gloved hands.
"We were offered the 2006 fight on a Friday," Macleod continued as we waited a moment for Tshifhiwa to come down from his room. "We arrived in the UK the following Monday and fought on Thursday."
And the fight is one that surprised many of those present and will be forgotten by none as Tshifhiwa "The Atomic Spider" Munyai destroyed the previously unbeaten Martin "Too Much" Power, 19-1-0 (8 KO's).
Power, 26, then a hot favourite to defeat the gangly Munyai, 21, was withdrawn by his corner in round nine amid fears for his safety after taking a beating from the six foot tall South African.
The much anticipated rematch takes place at Dagenham's Goresbrook Leisure Centre on Friday with both camps confident of victory.
"To Power, it is all about pride," said Macleod, joined by the track-suited Munyai. "Power may have been better to walk away."
Munyai is startling with a languid, disquieting and almost predatorily calmness. His intensity is chilling while his polite, relaxed demeanour gives an insight to the private man.
"I like London because the people are friendly here," said the softly spoken Johannesburg resident.
This is Munyai's third visit to London in less than seven months. Following his demolition of Martin Power, he thrashed the unfortunate Lee Haskins in October 2006, stopping him in the sixth round.
"I have been training for this for eight weeks now," he continues, "I have had much more warning for this than the previous fight."
"Tshifhiwa is looking so much better [than last time]," Macleod adds, "He looked super sharp on the focus pads today. I am certain he will win."
Munyai remains close to his family and friends. The second born of five children, three boys and two girls, he enjoys spending time with his friends, who he admits, "Can be a little jealous, but they are ok."
The interests of Munyai and his friends center around football, namely Soweto's Kaizer Chiefs and Premiership Champions Chelsea FC, who he is looking forward to visiting in the pre-fight build up.
And the UK football champions aspirations pale to those of the extraordinarily tall Commonwealth Champion.
"I want to be World Champion," Munyai says with certainty, "I have got everything, I am the complete package."
And who wouldn't believe him?
Tshifhiwa Munyai fights on the Frank Maloney Promotion "Payback or Playback?" at Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham, London, England on Friday January 26, 2007. Tickets are available by logging onto www.frankmaloney.com or by calling the Box Office at 0871 226 1508.
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