TRIAL-AWAITING boxer Willbeforce Shihepo is scheduled to fight South African Akani 'Prime' Phuzi for the WBA Pan African cruiserweight title in Johannesburg on 14 July.
Shihepo, now fighting out of the African Connection Boxing and Fitness Gym, is looking to resuscitate a once promising career derailed by ill-discipline accentuated by being charged with culpable homicide following a car crash that claimed the lives of a 54-year-old man and his six-year-old daughter in 2017. He is presently out on bail.
Last year, a case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was also opened against the troubled pugilist after he allegedly choked a man in a bar at Rehoboth.
Despite his indiscretions, trainer and long-time associate Immanuel 'AC' Moses did not shun Shihepo when he came calling at his gym a year ago.
"I don't want to talk about the case. It's none of my business. As long as he's licensed and cleared to fight, I'll work with him," Moses said dismissively.
"It's not affecting him. He has been training hard since he came to my gym. I prefer to talk about the fight. Let's focus on that," he added.
The title contest will be aired live on SuperSport, an added incentive for the unpredictable "Black Mamba" to be at his venomous best, Moses said.
The 36-year-old's previous fight ended in an eighth-round TKO defeat to Russian Aleksei Papin in Moscow last June.
His 25-10 record will get a stern test from Phuzi, who pummelled a rugged Mussa Ajibu of Malawi into a fourth-round submission in April.
The 24-year-old South African prospect Phuzi improved his record to 8-0 wins to land his first international title shot.
Nonetheless, Moses feels "it will not be a tough fight", as Shihepo's experience and power will prove the difference.
"He's a bit older, but he still has something to offer. If he wins, he knows it will open doors to bigger things. He's showing commitment, trains twice a day, and is doing a great job," Moses added.