Two of the best cruiserweights in the world have reached terms for an intriguing showdown.
WBC cruiserweight titlist Ilunga ‘Junior’ Makabu and mandatory challenger Thabiso Mchunu are set to collide in an all-Africa showdown later this year. Their ordered fight was destined to head to a purse bid hearing, only for the two camps–Don King Productions for Makabu and Titov Promotions for Mchunu–to come to an agreement to avoid such a route.
“We have agreed on everything with Don King,” German Titov, Mchunu’s promoter of record told BoxingScene.com. “The fight is all set.”
A date and location have yet to be attached to the event, though expected to be revealed in the coming days.
The bout will serve as a rematch to their May 2015 meeting, won by Makabu via eleventh-round stoppage in an otherwise competitive affair.
Makabu (28-2, 25KOs) will make the second defense of the title he claimed in a twelve-round decision over then-unbeaten Michael Cieslak last January in his homeland of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The 33-year-old southpaw followed the feat with a seventh-round knockout of veteran fringe contender Olanrewaju Durodola last December, also in Kinshasa which is likely to host his upcoming bout.
Mchunu (23-5, 13KOs) has proven to be among the sport’s most resilient contenders. The 33-year-old southpaw from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa has won his last four starts, including a twelve-round, unanimous decision over countryman Thomas Oosthuizen in December 2018 to avenge a split decision defeat just three months prior. His last two fights have taken place in Russia, including a lopsided points win over unbeaten Evgeny Tishchneko, a 2016 Olympic Gold medalist whom Mchunu soundly outboxed this past March in his hometown of Ekaterinburg, Russia.
The fight will mark the second shot at a major division title for Mchunu, who suffered a ninth-round knockout loss to Oleksandr Usyk in their December 2016 WBO cruiserweight title fight.
Makabu also got it right in his second title bid, having come up short in a condensed shootout with Tony Bellew in May 2016. Makabu scored an opening round knockdown, only to get dropped and stopped in the third round of their vacant WBC cruiserweight title fight on the road in Liverpool, England. Nine straight wins have followed for Makabu, including his outpointing unbeaten Aleksei Pepin in August 2019 to position himself for a shot at the vacant WBC cruiserweight title which he claimed in the aforementioned win over Cieslak.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox