Shocker In South Africa As Ali Funeka Stops Zahir Raheem In 4!

by James Slater: Scoring a quite sensational win in his home country of South Africa tonight, once-beaten lightweight contender Ali Funeka KO'd highly rated Philly fighter Zahir Raheem in just four rounds. With the superb win, Funeka, now 30-1-2(25), became the mandatory challenger for the IBF lightweight title currently held by 36-year-old Nate Campbell of Florida. Raheem, a one-time conqueror of the great Mexican warrior Erik Morales, fell to 29-3(17). This is the first time the defensively gifted Raheem has ever suffered a stoppage defeat in his pro career..

The South African's right hand was responsible for the stunning win. Decking Raheem four time no less with his dangerous right hand, Funeka finally put his man down for good in the 4th, whereupon referee Ernie Sharif hit the count of ten. Funika, nicknamed "Rush Hour" had arrived on the world stage with a bang. Raheem who, aside from his great upset win over Morales back in 2005, had lost close decisions to Acelino Freitas and Rocky Juarez and was coming off good wins over Cristobal Cruz and Ricardo Dominguez, was never really in the fight at all.

And while Funeka is a good puncher, as his 25 KO's suggest, Raheem figured to frustrate his man and box his way into the fight - possibly even winning a close decision. Instead, however, Raheem saw what may well have been his last chance at gaining another world title fight go completely out of the window. Funeka will now be a very interested observer of the upcoming Nate Campbell-Joan Guzman clash.

Funeka's only career loss came on points at the hands of his countryman and former IBF super-featherweight champion Mzonke Fana. That loss came way back in the summer of 2002, and since then Funeka has won sixteen straight, all but two of these wins coming by stoppage. Never having fought outside of his home country, chances are a good number of fans have never seen the South African fight. That will surely change now that he has become the number one contender for the IBF 135 pound title.

Whoever emerges triumphant on September 13th when "The Galaxxy Warrior" and Guzman collide, Funeka will be waiting to give him a very serious argument and a very stiff title challenge.

There could well be a new star in the currently ultra-competitive lightweight division, and he hails from South Africa.

Article posted on 06.07.2008

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