by Scott Milner
English Super Bantamweight champino Mike Ramabeletsa recently announced he will defend his title against unbeaten Jack Bateson on the undercard of Josh Warrington vs Sofiane Takoucht at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on 12th October.
Speaking at the press conference he proved eager to defend his belt,
"I would like to thank Jack for putting his unbeaten record on the line in order to challenge for my title and believing in his ability”.
Bateson is currently 10-0 and will be hoping that home advantage along with his talent will give him enough to snatch the title from the champion. Ramabeletsa is a man who is used to fighting on the road and believes with the venue only being an hour or so down the road from his base in Preston he feels like he will be fighting at home.
I caught up with Ramabeletsa to discuss the history-making opportunity,
“While I am really excited at the opportunity to fight on such a big stage in a fight which I expect to be nothing but brilliant I also have a fight beforehand that I can’t afford to look past”.
Mike has a fight scheduled for the end of August against Abdon Cesar which he confirmed will still be going ahead.
“While the English title is not on the line against Cesarm my opponent will be coming to cause any upset”.
His opponent, originally from Cameroon but now based in Stockton-on-Tees, has a record of just three wins from 12 bouts, but Mike was quick to point out his record doesn’t tell the whole story. Out of his 12 fights he has faced six unbeaten fighters as well as being in with names such as Kofi Yates, Joe Murray and also boasts points wins over the promising Ryan Collins and Atif Shafiq.
Mike was passionate in describing the experience his amateur career has given him,
"I had over 150 amateur fights including twice been crown South African champion” said Ramabeletsa.
“I stayed amateur for a long time but I’m glad I did, the amateur scene in South Africa is similar to that of Cuba in the sense we would fight every couple of weeks which provided me with plenty of experience that I was able to use throughout my career”.
“My professional career has been extremely difficult and I have had to go through a lot to get to this point”.
The champion believes although 37 years of age his best days certainly aren’t behind him,
“People see I’m 37 and assume I’m coming towards the end of my career but I am in great shape and still believe I can go on to make history”. “I’ve never been badly beaten up or really involved in grueling fights so I am still fresh”.
And what about his future? Mike is staying optimistic,
“I am not the kind of person to call people out, it can come across as disrespectful and that’s something I’m not”.
“I have an extremely tough first defence of my title against a young man with plenty of talent, I have no doubt it will be a great fight and if I get through that I just want to be involved in the biggest fights possible, I’m at that stage in my career where I want to make history”. “Things can happen very quickly in boxing and I have been given an excellent opportunity to perform on a big stage, I need to keep winning and putting on performances”.
Ramabeletsa is scheduled to fight on 31st August vs Abdon Cesar, then again in the first defence of his English title vs Jack Bateson on 12th October.