Other sport 3.7.2014 11:00 am

Massive battle on the cards at EFC 31

Demarte Pena at EFC Africa 16 at Carnival City, Johannesburg, South Africa ┬ęChris Ricco/Backpagepix

Demarte Pena at EFC Africa 16 at Carnival City, Johannesburg, South Africa ┬ęChris Ricco/Backpagepix

The bout between Nkazimulo Zulu and Demarte Pena at EFC 31 tonight has the potential to be the biggest battle seen this year. The irony is that it features two fighters from the organisation’s smallest division.

The event at the Dome will mark the first defence of the Zulu’s bantamweight title since being installed as the inaugural champion after defeating Charlie Weyer back at EFC27, in the very first title fight in the division.

But in Pena he faces a fighter who has yet to lose, having racked up an 8-0 career record and enjoying a reign as a dominant champion in the featherweight division.

With pressure mounting on Pena to face stablemate Boyd Allen for his crown, “The Wolf” refused to step into the hexagon to face a team-mate and instead relinquished his belt in order to chase history.

Should the Angolan-born fighter reign supreme tonight, he will become the first EFC athlete to capture titles in different divisions.

Both fighters made weight comfortably at yesterday’s weigh-in and it’s all systems go for the 7-1 champion who claimed: “I’m ready” shortly after a tense face-off with the challenger Pena.

There’s also an amateur history to consider, with Zulu claiming to have knocked Pena out while “The Wolf” regards the result as a case of inexperience after gassing out in their meeting in the unpaid ranks.

Tempers boiled over between the two other bantamweights on the main card as Cedric Doyle had to push Matt Buirski away after his aggressive approach. A drained Buirski failed to make weight the first time around and was given two hours to shed the excess.

Light-heavyweights Tumelo Maphuta and Danie van Heerden will feature in the main supporting bout with each promising an early night. Van Heerden makes a return after a 13-month injury lay-off with a broken wrist while his opponent is looking to solidify his credentials in the division.

In other main card bouts on the night, former heavyweight champion Andrew van Zyl will look to put himself back in contention for a title shot when he meets newcomer Elvis Moyo.

There have been occasions in the past where Van Zyl’s chin has stood up well, but he will no doubt be wary of Moyo’s power. The “Bomber” on the other hand will be well aware that his ground game is nowhere near that of Van Zyl’s and he will look to keep the action standing.

Hanru Botha and Wesley Hawkey, a wily veteran, will meet in the opener on the main card in the featherweight division.

 

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