While there are no titles at stake on tonight’s card, there is plenty at stake in the bout between JP Kruger and Tumelo Maputha with victory likely to prove one step closer to the middleweight title currently held by Jeremy Smith. Smith is scheduled to take on No 1 contender Garreth Mclellan later this year when they renew an old rivalry.
Both of tonight’s combatants come from accomplished kick-boxing backgrounds and when you take into account that Maphuta holds the record for the fastest knockout in African mixed martial arts, clocked at seven seconds, the stage is set for a battle of the strikers.
“I can’t wait. I’m ready for it,” Maputha who impressed in his most recent outing, when taking on Mclellan on a week’s notice that saw him drop 12kg in seven days, said at yesterday’s weigh-in before reflecting on his training camp.
“It was hard but there’s nothing more you can expect and we’re going to have fun in there,” he added ahead of the clash.
Kruger is unbeaten in the hexagon in four outings to date and the fighter who also trades under the name “Tinkerbell”, unusual for a fighter, is raring to go.
“Tumelo is a brilliant guy. He’s a respectful kickboxer and it’s always great to go against a strong, confident striker like that. What’s my game plan? I’m going to put him where he’s least confident,” Kruger said yesterday.
The main supporting bout will see former welterweight champion Dallas Jakobi attempt to take Frederich Naumann’s unbeaten tag when they step in for a lightweight contest.