By Ron Jackson
Veteran Barend van Rooyen from Gauteng hopes it will be fourth time lucky when he meets Yanga Phetani of Mdantsane for the vacant South African middleweight title at the Kempton Park Indoor Arena on Saturday night.
The 39-year-old Van Rooyen had his first crack at a South African title in April 2001 when he challenged Martin Jacobs for the South African lightweight title and lost on points and on March 2003 he challenged Lucky Lewele for the SA junior-welterweight title and was stopped in the fifth round.
After this loss he was inactive for nearly 12 years before he returned to the ring in August 2015 as a middleweight and scored victories over Elvis Ndlovu, William Bankisi and Jade Karam, before challenging Christopher Buthelezi for the South African middleweight title on June 12 2016 in Durban.
Van Rooyen was outpointed over 12 rounds with scores of 118-113, 117-114 and 117-112.
This was Buthelezi’s last fight and he was inactive until he relinquished the title in October this year.
Phetani made his pro debut on October 29 2005 and won his first eight fights before fighting to a draw against Lelethu Maqwiga in June 2012.
In March 2013 he suffered his first loss when he was stopped in the third round by Nkululeko Mhlongo in a challenge for the South African junior-middleweight title.
Since the loss to Mhlongo he has won his next three fights to take his record to 12-1-1; 4.
Van Rooyen has a reported record of 25-5-2; 2. Both records are according to Boxrec.
As both fighter have only six inside the distance wins between them, the odds are that the fight will go the scheduled distance of 12 rounds.
There are eight fights on the undercard.