Thulani “Tulz” Mbenge cut a confident figure this week as he continued to prepare for his IBO welterweight title fight against Argentinian Diego Chavez at Emperors Palace on Saturday.
It is Mbenge’s first attempt at a world title and his 13-fight unbeaten run will be put to the test against Chavez.
“I’m ready‚ excited and I can’t wait‚” the South African boxer said at Emperor’s Palace this week.
Mbenge‚ who hails from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape and is currently based in Fourways‚ told SowetanLIVE that he could not wait to step inside the ring and face the Argentinian.
“It feels like I am dreaming‚” the 26-year-old said. “I have been preparing for this since I was a child.
“It’s my first time to compete for a world title.”
Chavez has an impressive professional track record with 26-3-1 (22 KOs).
Speaking through a translator‚ Chavez said he would win the vacant IBO title and upset Mbenge in his own backyard.
Mbenge said he would tread carefully and would not underestimate the South American.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover‚” a cautious Mbenge said.
Mbenge is a highly disciplined individual and he shaved off his trademark dreadlocks recently‚ saying the hair was starting to get in his way.
“You don’t need distractions when you’re in the ring‚” he said.
“When you have long hair, you use a lot of hair products and things‚ sweat can actually sting your eyes and distract you (in the ring).”
“Then you’ve lost.”
Mbenge said he would not let anything get in his way as he continues to prepare for Saturday’s fight.