When the popular nationally televised live boxing series Fight Night returns for its Friday, January 24th season opener on NBC Sports Network, the co-feature bout will be an intriguing clash for the NABF championship belt between two African cruiserweights.
South African Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu, 14-1, 10 KOs, meets Olanrewaju “God’s Power” Durodola, 15-1, 14 KOs, of West Africa, in a 10-round fight at Resorts International Hotel and Casino, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Durodola stepped in when Garrett Wilson was forced to pull out of the bout due to an injury. The fight is the main supporting bout of a card headlined by the 10-round middleweight encounter between Curtis Stevens and Patrick Majewski.
Thabiso Mchunu, of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, burst onto the US boxing scene in August with a surprising one-sided points victory over proven contender Eddie Chambers of Philadelphia. It was Mchunu’s first fight in America, and he pulled the major upset on the same Fight Night series, before a shocked US TV audience.
The victory sent a message to the rest of the cruiserweight division that Mchunu was the latest title threat in the 200-pound class. The 6-year pro had posted many other victories, but this one was heard around the globe. He takes his next step toward a title shot on January 24th, against another tough African fighter.
The little-known Olanrewaju Durodola hails from Lagos, Nigeria, but now fights out of Kansas City, KS. He’s packed in 16 fights, all in the US, since turning pro in 2011, and will look to make his name in the sport, by fashioning his own upset introduction against Mchunu. His big opportunity comes after Mchunu’s original opponent, Philadelphian Garrett Wilson, was forced out of the high-profile fight due to injury.
“I want to thank NBC, Dibella Entertainment and Main Events for giving me this opportunity to win the NABF title and to put myself in position for a world title.” said Durodola. “The NABF title has been held by so many fighters who have become world champions and I will not let Mchunu get in the way of my goals.”
Durodola added, “I respect Mchunu as an elite boxer but he has not faced anyone with the skills and power I will bring on January 24th.”
All but one of Durodola’s wins have come by knockout, and like Mchunu, has only lost one bout in his entire career. On paper, these two punchers look quite similar, but physically there are differences. At 6′ 2″ tall, Durodola will tower over Mchunu, just 5′ 8″. However, Mchunu, world ranked #4 (WBC), #8 (WBO), #10 (IBF), and #15 (WBA), clearly proved that size was not a factor against the 6′ 1″ Chambers. Plus at 25 years of age, Mchunu is 5 years younger than Durodola.
The 10-round fight should be interesting, with both fighters eager to impress fans and establish their reputation as the best rising star in the cruiserweight division.
Six additional fights are planned to be added to the Friday night card which is promoted by Main Events, Peltz Boxing, Showpony Promotions and Dibella Entertainment.