Ridhwan to go for the jugular
The Chosen Wan vows to KO Namibian Ambunda in their IBO world super bantamweight bout on Sept 29
Local boxer Muhamad Ridhwan stands undefeated, but he may find himself on the ropes when he takes on Namibian veteran Paulus Ambunda next month.
The two will be facing off for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) world super bantamweight (up to 55kg) title at the Roar of Singapore: The Kings of Lion City event at Marina Bay Sands on Sept 29.
At 1.63m, the diminutive Ambunda may not appear much of a threat.
But, for many in Africa's boxing circles, the name Paulus "The Rock" Ambunda strikes fear.
The 38-year-old boasts an impressive record of 26 wins and two defeats, and was a flyweight (up to 52kg) quarter-finalist at the 2004 Olympics.
He was also named the Namibian Sportsman and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) African Boxer of the Year in 2010.
Despite his opponent's stellar record, Ridhwan - also known as "The Chosen Wan" - appeared unimpressed when addressing the press at the Spartan's Boxing Club yesterday.
The reigning IBO inter-continental featherweight champion issued fighting words, saying: "(Other than winning) our main goal is to be the decision that helps Paulus to retire.
"He's too old, too slow, he's a rock. No doubt he's good and I respect him, but he's just good. There's nothing great about him; his best days are over."
But Ambunda responded sagely: "Ridhwan is a great boxer. He's young and hungry for success but he's got a lot of mistakes.
"He still comes in as a boy and we have to teach him how to respect an elder in the ring."
With eight of his 11 victories coming from knockouts, fans will be expecting Ridhwan,30, to go for the jugular next month.
But Ambunda will be looking to thwart his plans.
While he remained coy about his strategy, the ex- world champion - who has been building up his stamina with daily 10km runs - hinted that a 12-round fight might be on the cards.
He said: "If Ridhwan starts to box, I'll fight. The game plan is to break him all the rounds.
"I've fought more skilful boxers than him; I know how to roll with the punches."
Ridhwan insisted that he was going for the knockout, saying: "For me, fighting is not about stamina. If he wants to push, I will take him into dead waters and make him drown."
While the IBO is traditionally considered a minor sanctioning body, a win for Ridhwan would still see him take his place among the likes of boxing giants Anthony Joshua (heavyweight) and Gennady Golovkin (middleweight).
And fight promoter Scott O'Farrell believes it will be a night to remember.
He said: "With Paulus, he comes forward and he's got great cardio. He's tasted the canvas before and got off it to win the world title.
"Ridhwan has got an iron chin. He's sharper than I've ever seen him in his entire career. He looks ready, so it's going to be fantastic."