Johannesburg, South Africa – It was announced earlier on Thursday that Ireland’s Henry Fadipe had withdrawn from his scheduled welterweight title bout against South Africa’s Dricus ‘Stillknocks’ du Plessis and that the search for an opponent was on. It is now confirmed that du Plessis will face Poland’s Rafal ‘The Polish Tank’ Haratyk at middleweight in the headlining bout of the final EFC event of the year at Carnival City.
“When Dricus heard that Fadipe was injured, he asked for the biggest replacement fight possible, no matter what the weight division” stated EFC President Cairo Howarth. He continued, “He wanted to give himself the hardest challenge available. Now he has a mammoth task in Rafal, one of the number one middleweight contenders, a division above his. This is going to be huge!”
Du Plessis fights out of Pretoria’s Team CIT and is the EFC welterweight champion. He captured the title earlier this year in Sun City with a third round submission over Martin van Staden. He carries an ever-growing popularity amongst fans for his incredibly exciting fights that often win him performance bonuses. He is a young man that is looking to be remembered as the best athlete in EFC, and has just made it clear that he is always in search of the biggest challenge.
When Fadipe withdrew, the organistion gave du Plessis two options; the next best in the welterweight division, one that would challenge him for EFC gold or a top middleweight contender, one that would be his toughest task yet.
Mark Hulme was offered the title shot and he accepted the bout immediately. However, du Plessis declined the challenge from the welterweight, citing that he wants a fight that will add to his legacy, a fight that will be remembered by fans for years to come.
“It is not about having one or two good performances. You need to be able to consistently put up championship performances to fight for the belt. I wasn’t excited when I was offered Mark,” stated du Plessis when confronted with the choices.
Du Plessis was then offered Haratyk.
Undefeated in EFC is Poland’s Haratyk and with three first round, overwhelming finishes he is aptly named ‘The Polish Tank’. He is considered to be next in line for a title shot at middleweight and was last seen knocking out his opponent on the same night that du Plessis captured EFC gold.
Once rumours of Fadipe pulling out of the fight began surfacing and du Plessis called out for a new opponent, the Pole took to twitter to answer the champs call: “I don’t care about your belt Dricus. But I do care about big fights. Want one? Sign the addendum with my name on it!”
“Rafal Haratyk on the other hand is undefeated with three first round finishes in EFC, when Graeme (EFC matchmaker) mentioned him as an option, I got excited at the challenge he offered me. I want to leave a legacy and I need the big fights to do that and be remembered as one of the best EFC athletes of all time,” stated the champ.
South Africa’s du Plessis versus Poland’s Haratyk is on and although there has been a change in opponent for the champ and the welterweight title is no longer on the line, it seems that this EFC 56 mega-fight between the welterweight champion and the middleweight contender, in the heavier division, could produce even more than the title fight would have.
The fight is scheduled to take place as the main event at EFC 56, after two highly anticipated title fights.
EFC 56: Du Plessis vs Fadipe, Bahati vs Buirski, Kabesa vs Botha presented by SUPABETS, takes place on Friday 9 December 2016 at Carnival City, Johannesburg. Tickets are on sale now at www.computicket.com, and the 5 main card bouts will be broadcast live on kwesesports.com (Sub-Saharan Africa) and Kwesé Free Sports (Kenya & Rwanda) starting at 20:00 (CAT) and delayed-live on e.tv (South Africa) after the 20:30 (CAT) movie. Full broadcast details available on www.efcworldwide.com.