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Q & A with Jeffrey “The Mongoose” Mathebula

It may have been two years ago but it’s something Jeffrey “Mongoose” Mathebula remembers all to well. He travelled to Panama to face WBA/IBF kingpin Celestino Caballero, who was widely regarded as the best Super Bantamweight on the planet. Despite putting up a career best performance Mathebula was on the wrong end of a close split decision loss. There was no rematch, Mathebula would have to get back in line and earn another shot. The 31 year old won a stay busy fight and was vaulted into a title eliminator against countryman Takalani Ndlovu before again losing a heart breaking split decision. On 11 June he gets his chance to once again secure a title shot when he meets another South African Oscar Chauke in an IBF title eliminator. He will hope that he can get the win that will set up a return with Ndlovu.

Hello Jeffrey, welcome to

Anson Wainwright – Firstly it’s been several months since you last fought. When can we expect to see you back in action?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I’m very excited!! I will be fighting on the 11th June. It is IBF # 2 Eliminator against my country man Oscar Chauke. Man, this IBF Jnr. Featherweight Title has always been mine!!

Anson Wainwright – Recently your countryman Takalani Ndlovu who beat you on a split decision last year won a world title when he beat Steve Molitor. It must have been nice to see your countryman/friend do this but also frustrating to see someone who you fought so well against win a world title. What are you thoughts on this and Ndlovu?

Jeffrey Mathebula – You are absolutely correct!! Yes, I’m happy for Taki to finally win, especially after our promoter made such a sacrifice in beating Top Rank at the purse bid. However, on the other hand, I should fought have Molitor and not Takalani. I lost an eliminator on split decision. I hope Branco, who promotes all of us, will give me short at Ndlovu!!

Anson Wainwright – Presumably you’d love a second fight with Ndlovu? What can you tell us about the first fight?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I don’t think he give me chance – even if Branco wants to make the fight. He knows I beat him first time! This is why I’m happy to fight now for IBF # 2, which will bring me closer to Takalani fight!

Anson Wainwright – Can you tell us about the members of your team; your manager, trainer & promoter? Also what gym do you regularly train at?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I’m with Nick Durandt, who is my manager & trainer. Of course, we all promoted by Branco (Milenkovic).

Anson Wainwright – What are your thoughts on the Super Bantamweight division including the champions WBC Nishioka, WBA Shimoda/Rigondeaux, IBF Ndlovu & WBO Arce? Who do you consider the best in your weight class?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I want Takalani! I want to prove the point, and after I beat him, anybody can come forward. I’m not scared to fight outside the country, I proved it in Panama.

Anson Wainwright – You also fought Celestino Caballero a couple of years ago, only losing a split decision to him in Panama. Can you tell us about the fight and what you thought it was like fighting there?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I was robbed two years ago in Panama, in unification IBF & WBA against local boy Caballero. Lost on split decision!! You know, in Panama if you lose on split decision, it is like you knock out guy 5 times. The day after the fight, Panama newspapers were having headline “ROBBERY”! Everybody knows I won.

Anson Wainwright – You were born in Malamulele in South Africa, can you tell us about your younger days.

Jeffrey Mathebula – We all had tough childhood – tough and poor. This is why I opted for boxing, to give my family better life.

Anson Wainwright – How did you first become Interested in Boxing and then can you tell us the path it took you?

Jeffrey Mathebula – It was only way out of poverty. But the big fights are with big promoters in Johannesburg and not Malamulele, this is why I have relocated.

Anson Wainwright – What Boxers did you look up to when you were growing up? Who do you enjoy watching today?

Jeffrey Mathebula – There were many great champions from Malamulele, but possibly the most known is Cassius Baloyi – he was my idol.

Anson Wainwright – What do you like to do with your time when you’re not Boxing or training? What are your hobbies and Interest?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I work in the same time as personal trainer for executive clients, at Durandt gym, so I’m busy all day.

Anson Wainwright – Last year the Soccer World Cup took place in South Africa. What did you think of it?

Jeffrey Mathebula – With out doubt it was event of the life time! Have put on the map not only South Africa, but all continents.

Anson Wainwright – Finally do you have a message for the Super Bantamweight division?

Jeffrey Mathebula – I’m still around and I’m coming to get you…but first…Takalani!

Thanks for your time Jeffrey.

Anson Wainwright

Weekend Thoughts – It was an Interesting couple of days in the Boxing world. In Britain the grudge match between James Degale & George Groves took place in the splendid 02 Arena in London. Going In I thought Degale would beat up “The Ugle kid” as he’d often called Groves in the build up. It was anything but that in actual fact. Groves started well and while Degale came into in the fight in the middle rounds and then late. Groves won a razor thin majority decision by a single point on two scorecards. Full credit to Groves who went to Miami to train and sparred with world rated southpaw Andre Dirrell, the tough love approach certainly seemed to work. He may not be as skilled as Degale but he’s a ballsy fighter who you can’t take anything away from. The rivalry hasn’t been settled and a rematch is almost certain to happen in the future. For my money I though Degale just about eked it out. Nathan Cleverly endured a strange week when first Jurgen Braehmer pulled out, then Tony Bellew stepped in before not being allowed to fight because he was to far off weight only for Aleksy Kuziemski to take the fight at the eleventh hour. Cleverly managed to stop Kuziemski in the fourth and won handily except for a when the game Pole opened up in the third. Strangely the fight was stopped on a cut but in the Degale-Groves fight both guys had worse cuts and that was a British & Commonwealth title fight. Also part of the card Billy Joe Saunders scored his most impressive win to date with an eye opening second round stoppage over Kevin Hammond who’s known to be tough and never stopped previously. Former amateur star Frankie Gavin won a pedestrian twelve round decision as he comfortably handled former British champ Young Mutley… I’m not sure what it is about bad blood in Britain at the moment, there must be something in the water. The Cleverly-Bellew press conference kicked off , then the much anticipated Kevin Mitchell-John Murray fight scheduled for July got a bit tasty when both guys trash talked each other in the ring ahead on Saturday. At ringside Derek Chisora & Tyson Fury squared up to each other and of course we just had Degale & Groves who even after the fight wouldn’t go near one other…It was a shame to see Roy Jones get stopped in the brutal manner he was against Denis Lebedev, hopefully now the great man will hang them up before he gets an more seriously hurt. …In Canada the living legend that is Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins once again turned back father time when he won a close but clear decision over Jean Pascal who was 17 years his junior. With the win Hopkins not only claimed the WBC Light Heavyweight title but also the distinction of being the oldest fighter to ever win a world title. Chad Dawson won a decision over Adrian Diaconu that was devoid of any real action…On Friday in North Wales much hyped Sergei Rabchanka beat former Enzo Calzaghe protégé Bradley Pryce over twelve rounds 117-112, 116-112 & 116-113. Rabchanka is handled by super agent Philippe Fondu who rates him as the best fighter he’s worked with. It is hoped that Rabchanka will fight the winner of Lukas Konecny-Hussein Bayram for the European Light Middleweight title in the second half of the year. If Konecny retains the title and faces Rabchanka that would most certainly be an entertaining fight.

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