Former IBF World Champion DJ Kriel has promised entertainment when he returns to the ring for the first time in almost two years when he takes on Tembelani Nxoshe in an eight-round catchweight bout at Sportzshala Africa Boxing on December 24, 24. 9.
The former IBF and WBC International World Champion is making his Sportzshala debut, planning a comeback after losing to Felix Alvarado for the IBF World Junior Flyweight Championship in January 2021 in Texas, USA.
It was only the second loss of his career as he went 10 rounds against Alvarado, who won via TKO after sending Kriel to the canvas in the second and fourth rounds. Since then, Kriel hasn’t had a professional fight.
Born in Johannesburg, Kriel returned to South Africa from the US after the fight with Alvarado and has since found a trainer and manager in renowned mentor Colin Nathan.
“Even though I didn’t fight, I didn’t leave the gym,” Kriel told Sportzshala. “I was in the gym the entire two years I was on vacation, but we know that sparring and fighting are two different things. Wrestling is where it matters.
“After the fight with Alvarado, I didn’t live in the States, I moved back here to South Africa and Colin Nathan became my new coach and manager, so everything changed. We also have another coach who is very good at Shannon Stride.”
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Criel, however, has acknowledged that he has learned valuable lessons from the Nicaraguan boxer and insists the experience has turned him into a “different beast” who will demand respect from his opponents.
“We will definitely see a new DJ,” said the 27-year-old musician. “Even after the fight with Alvarado, I became a completely different fighter, a completely different beast. I really learned a lot from fighting Alvarado and now I want to hurt people.
“This is what he did to me and it showed me how to earn respect. If I don’t get that respect when I’m in the ring, that’s the pain and pain I want to inflict on my opponents. show them that they should respect me.
“So, I bring a lot more to my boxing style. I improved my arsenal. Definitely looking forward to a new DJ and I want to entertain the fans, that’s our job.”
Being inactive for 23 months was not entirely Kriel’s decision as the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled sporting events around the world, causing his last two fights to be cancelled.
“I was absent for two years, but it was not my decision that I wanted to be absent for two years. I just didn’t have fights,” continued Kriel.
“For the last two years, I was supposed to fight for the first time at the end of 2021 in Mexico. In fact, we were already there, and the opponent failed because he had COVID, so my fight was postponed.
“Then we were supposed to fight again, but the whole event was postponed because two or three fighters got sick with COVID. That’s when we decided to go home.”
Looking at his fight on Friday, Kriel is enjoying the opportunity to appear on Sportzshala Africa Boxing and sees it as a potential opportunity to compete with the broadcaster in the United States.
“This will be my first appearance on Sportzshala Africa and we wanted to fight on Sportzshala, me and Colin talked about it,” he said. “Sportzshala is the biggest boxing broadcaster in Africa and broadcasts all over the world, so it’s cool.
“If Sportzshala isn’t the biggest boxing broadcaster in South Africa right now, it will soon be, so I’m thrilled to be on the big stage with Sportzshala.”
The main event of Sportzshala Africa Boxing 24 will be a 12-round bout for the IBF world super middleweight title between Emmani Kalombo (16-1-0) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Shiva Thakran (16-3-1) of India.
Sportzshala Africa Boxing 24 – Fight Map:
– Main Event: IBF World Super Middleweight Title 12 Rounds: Emmany Kalombo (16-1-0) vs. Shiva Thakran (16-3-1)
– Minor: Catchweight, 8 rounds: DJ Kriel (16-2-1) vs. Tembelani Nxoshe (19-9-2)
– Super Middleweight, 8 rounds: Patrick Mukala (13-2-1) – Yanga Phetani (14-4-1)
– Middleweight, 6 rounds: Darrin Rossow (6-0-0) – Jacques Chikubu Moowood (7-1-1)
– Women’s bantamweight, 8 rounds: Ellen Simwaka (11-5-2) – Asandiswa Nksokwana (7-4-2)
Undercard: welterweight, 4 rounds: Fumelo Sele (1-1-0) – Aaron Muteba (1-0-0)