Johannesburg (South Africa) – Tumelo Maphutha is a man of few words. An athlete with fists that have knocked the most gifted of Africa’s best warriors down, the holder of the fastest KO record on the continent, at EFC AFRICA 22 he faces multiple kickboxing champion JP ‘Tinkerbell’ Kruger in the main event. Here he gives a straight shooting account of how he sees his Hexagon past, and just what Kruger can expect on Thursday night.
You have had a string of controversial decisions. A split draw vs. Fadipe, a loss to McLellan, the DQ decision against Cleland, do you feel you’ve been on the wrong end of the referees?
Where do you think the decision should/could have been different?
With Cleland he convinced the ref to give the fight up. They were nice to Fadipe because it was his first EFC fight, I took the knock for that. With McLellan there was nothing I could do. How do you knock out a sprinter? You have to hit him on the back of the head, but the rules don’t allow for that.
After your loss to McLellan you vowed that you would never again let a fight go to the judges. Are you focused on a KO against Kruger?
Do you think you could have finished McLellan if you’d attacked more? Are you looking to change that with this fight?
I had 5 days to drop 12kg, my biggest mistake ever. This time I am prepared. My weight is perfect.
Despite your loss to McLellan you are being given another shot at a top contender. How prepared are you to go all the way to the title?
Do you think you should be challenging for the middleweight title by now?
What sort of statement are you looking to make in your bout with Kruger?
No statement. I just won’t be leaving it in the hands of the judges.
How much of a difference does it make that you and Kruger will be fighting over five rounds?
None. It won’t last five rounds.
You and Kruger have huge kickboxing pedigrees. Do you think he will be happy to stand with you?
Kruger has got excellent kick boxing skills but his experience is with shin pads, big gloves and head gear (amateur). I have been fighting hard-core for more than 10 years (none of the above).
Baring in mind that Liam Cleland couldn’t finish you on the ground, do you think Kruger will see taking you down as a good option?
The question only counts if he can actually get me to the ground. I have a few horse power surprises for him.
How do you see this fight going?
Not the distance.
Do you have any words for JP?
Don’t run away.
EFC AFRICA 22, presented by MusclePharm, takes place at the Carnival City Big Top Arena on 15 August 2013. Tickets on sale now at www.computicket.com. Tickets for the live broadcast to Nu Metro Cinemas available now at www.numetro.com.
Broadcast information and full fight card available at efcafrica.com