CHAMPION SPIRIT: Keith Nkosi unleashes a powerful straight right  on Fulufhelo Modau  during a bout in 2011. Picture: SOWETAN
CHAMPION SPIRIT: Keith Nkosi unleashes a powerful straight right on Fulufhelo Modau during a bout in 2011. Picture: SOWETAN

"CHAMPIONS are made from something they have deep inside them — desire, dream and a vision. They have to have the skill and the will, but the will must be stronger than the skill."

This famous quote is from Muhammad Ali and is the perfect description of Keith "Baby Beast" Nkosi.

The ambitious 22-year-old from Mbali township in KwaZulu-Natal has only eight wins with five KOs against two defeats. But Nkosi has accepted a fight against the human hurricane that is Sipho "Tsunami" Taliwe, the 31-year-old vastly experienced WBC International junior lightweight champion, who has blown away 14 of his 20 victims.

The showdown will take place at Emperors Palace on March 18, Golden Gloves fight publicist Brian Mitchell announced.

On paper the bout is a mismatch, but Nkosi, the African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight champion, says he would not have accepted the offer if he did not fancy his chances against Taliwe, who is rated No4 by the WBC.

"I want to be something in boxing and I have confidence to do that," says Nkosi, who fights out of the Hammer Gym owned by veteran trainer Harold Volbrecht.

"Sipho is a very good and strong fighter and I’ve got great respect for him. Our fight will be my hardest to date.

"I was actually in a similar situation when I fought Warren Joubert, another seasoned strong fighter, for the ABU title on December 3."

That mismatch, Nkosi’s first 12-rounder, turned out to be his easiest boxing match since he turned professional in 2010. Nkosi, who had never gone past four rounds, tore Joubert apart in one round. Three knock-downs forced referee Tony Nyangiwe to intervene.

While Taliwe could not be reached for a comment, trainer Benny Pailman said they did not underestimate Nkosi at all.