Super bantam Scott Quigg could be in for a genuine test tonight as the Bury man headlines the massive Phones 4u Arena in Manchester in defense of his WBA crown against South Africa’s Tshifhiwa Munyai.
Quigg, 27-0 (20), was scheduled to defend against mandatory challenger Nehomar Cermeno until immigration issues knocked the Panamanian out of the equation.
That led to a surprise title shot for Munyai, 24-2-1 (12), the 28 year old “Atomic Spider” from Makwarela, in the far north of South Africa.
This is a return to the UK for Munyai, who fought on English soil on six occasions from 2006-2008, defeating Martin Power twice and Lee Haskins once for the Commonwealth bantam crown but losing to Osumanu Akaba at super bantam.
That defeat ended Munyai’s British invasion, and the lanky African went back home to go 8-1 since that time, picking up the IBO and WBA Pan-African belts at super bantam following his 2010 Mexico City excursion that resulted in a very thin unanimous decision loss to Christian Esquivel for the vacant WBC Silver bantamweight strap.
At 5’9, Munyai will have the height and reach advantage over the 25 year old 5’8 Quigg once the bell rings tonight but the visitor had difficulty making weight yesterday, taking two hours to make the super bantam limit after failing on his first try.
This could be a very important factor as Quigg is a feared body-puncher and no doubt Munyai will want to keep his distance, boxing from the outside to maximize his advantages and avoid Quigg’s.
But given the weight-making problems, the drained Munyai will likely have no choice but to fight Quigg in the later rounds and that’s where this fight gets very interesting.
Will Munyai be in over his head or will Quigg?
Despite being a world champion, to date Quigg has fought nothing more than domestic opponents and a variety of Latin imports who, let’s be frank here, weren’t world beaters.
Is Munyai just another import, just from a different continent?
We should find out the answers to these questions in a few hours.
There is a good support bout on the bill, as domestic lightweight rivals John Murray, 33-2 (20), and Anthony Crolla, 27-4-1 (10), get to grips over Crolla’s WBO Intercontinental belt.
For comparison, Murray has held the British and European titles while Crolla has held the British and English straps. Murray holds wins over Gary Buckland, Jon Thaxton and John Simpson, while Crolla has beaten Gavin Rees, Willie Limond, Andy Morris and Stephen Foster Jr.
Murray has lost to Kevin Mitchell in 2011 and to Brandon Rios in a failed 2012 bid for the vacant WBA title while Crolla’s losses have come to Gary Sykes in 2009 and 2012, Derry Mathews in 2012 and Youssef Al Hamidi in 2008.
This illustrates the edge in experience Murray takes into this clash and it should provide the ex-world title challenger the push to win this battle of Manchester based fighters.