Gift Bholo (South Africa) during the ESPN Africa Boxing 14 WEIGH IN in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 24, 2022 © Barry Aldworth / ESPN Africa (2022)

ESPN Africa Boxing 18 set to entertain

 Boxing fans across Africa can look forward to some of the best combat sport action when ESPN Africa Boxing 18 takes place in Johannesburg and broadcasts live on ESPN on Thursday 30 June 2022, from 19:00 (CAT). Sanctioned by Boxing South Africa (BSA) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF), this event will be headlined by a 12-round match for the IBF International Junior Middleweight title between DR Congo’s Emmany Kalombo (15-1-0) and Kenyan Rayton Okwiri (7-0-1).

Known as ‘The General’, Kalombo was last in action in April, defeating Malawian Chikondi Makawa via third-round technical knockout in Soweto, while the unbeaten Okwiri is making a much-anticipated return to the ring. In his most recent fight, in October 2021, Okwiri knocked out John Serunjogu of Uganda in a middleweight non-title fight in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The former African Boxing Union middleweight title holder is determined to put a major belt around his waist once again. “I have done it in the past and it’ll not be any different this time round. This is a big fight for me and the title must come back home as I’m serious to win it,” Okwiri explained. 

Kalombo, however, feels that things will go differently: “I have known Okwiri as an amateur boxer for a long time and I’m gonna chop him down and stop him from taking the title.”

The co-main event is a 10-round Welterweight clash between South Africa’s Thulani Mbenge (18-1-0) and Idd Pialari of Tanzania (30-7-1). Mbenge was last in action a year ago, claiming an impressive third-round knockout win over Jabulani Makhense. Pialari broke a losing streak by defeating Chimwemwe Chiotcha via unanimous decision in February this year. 

The main card also features an eight-round Super Flyweight clash between Sikho Nqothole (14-2-0) and Selemani Bangaiza (12-7-0); Jabulani Makhense (12-1-0) v Paul Kamanga (23-2-0) over eight rounds in the Welterweight division; and a Super Lightweight battle over eight rounds between Gift Bholo (9-11-0) and Hannock Phiri (14-0-1).

The fight card for this event, is as follows:


Main event: IBF International Junior Middleweight Title

12 rounds

Emmany Kalombo (DR Congo, 15-1-0)


Rayton Okwiri (Kenya, 7-0-1)

Co-main event: Welterweight

10 rounds

Thulani Mbenge (SA, 18-1-0)


Idd Pialari (Tanzania, 30-7-1)

Super Flyweight

8 rounds

Sikho Nqothole (SA, 14-2-0)


Selemani Bangaiza (Tanzania, 12-7-0)


8 rounds

Jabulani Makhense (SA, 12-1-0)


Paul Kamanga (DR Congo, 23-2-0)

Super Lightweight

8 rounds

Gift Bholo (SA, 9-11-0)


Hannock Phiri (Malawi, 14-0-1)


Junior Middleweight

4 rounds

Sinethemba Blom (debut)


Mikaeel van Doorsen (1-1-0)

Junior Lightweight

6 rounds

Cayden Truter (4-0-0)


Khanyisani Mbokazi (2-3-1)

Featuring a diverse range of the continent’s boxing talent, the ESPN Africa Boxing events that take place on the last (or second last) Thursday of every month, are televised to an audience of up to 60 million homes across Africa and Latin America. The action starts at 19:00 (CAT) on ESPN (DStv 218, Starsat 248), SABC Sport and selected international broadcasters including ESPN across Latin America, as well as a highlights package in TKO (SABC 2, Fridays at 21:30).

How to tune in:

ESPN: DStv 218, Starsat 248 

SABC Sport

  • All times are stated in CAT / SAST.
  • Schedule subject to change

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