BY TERRY MADYAUTA
INTERNATIONAL boxer Joe Maphosa, who has got Zimbabwean roots, says he is now stepping up preparations ahead of potentially thrilling challenge for the coveted English Super Flyweight boxing title.
The explosive and dynamic fighter is set to take on Craig Derbyshire on September 10 at Rainton Meadows Arena in the United Kingdom, for the title which has been vacant since 2019.
Marcel Braithwaite was the previous holder.
With just four weeks remaining before Maphosa returns to the ring after 18 months of frustration and inactivity due to COVID-19-induced challenges, Smoking Joe, as he is fondly known, said he is focusing on mental conditioning for this fight.
Ranked third in the English Super-flyweight category, the Beitbridge-born pugilist is confident that he will claim his first major title.
The 27-year-old plunges into this fight sitting on a plausible record of 10 wins in 10 fights and will be hoping to maintain a clean sheet against Derbyshire.
“On September 10, I am lifting the Super Flyweight title, whatsoever. It has been a very exhausting wait, but I have been patient with the process and now it is do-or-die,” he said.
“This fight, is important to me because I am hopeful that it will improve my ranking as well as lift my country’s flag high.
“In short, I am dedicating it to my fans in Zimbabwe, who have been wishing me the best all along.
“And to my fans in Teesside, I won’t disappoint them, the title is coming home with pride, I am very confident.”
Maphosa admitted that it will not be an easy fight as he faces Derbyshire, who himself if a seasoned campaigner in this category.
“I don’t underestimate my opponents because fighters, boxers come in different packages and they have different techniques and skills.
“I am just hoping to have a good day in the ring. He is a big name in this trade and he is a former title holder which makes this very interesting and probably challenging for me, but I hope to succeed even if it is difficult,” Maphosa added.
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