Fighter from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ilunga Makabu (27-2, 24 knockouts), whips the cruiserweight champion of the World Boxing Council, had a tough route to glory.
In 2016, he had a painful defeat against English Tony Bellew, with the WBC green and gold title at stake. Despite his quality and having sent Bellew to the canvas in the first round, a devastating counter from Tony, ended his dreams.
However Makabu did not give up. He had to start again to carve his way to the conquest the of world title.
In 2017, he returned to the ring with two wins, but it was until 2018 when he won, in a great fight, the WBC International title, defeating Taylor Mabika, who had a streak of 11 wins.
Undoubtedly, his triumphs in Russia in 2019 took him to a new opportunity for the world crown. He first faced experienced Russian knockout artist Dmitry Kudryashov, knocking him down in the second round and punishing him until the referee stopped actions in the fifth round.
The second great victory he obtained was against Alexander Papin, one of Russia’s best prospects. Makabu proved his quality, categorically defeating him on his own home turf.
The time for triumph arrived on January 31 of this year, when Makabu defeated previously unbeaten Michal Cieslak with the vacant WBC cruiserweight belt on the line.
Ilunga took the initiative from the beginning looking to connect power shots on Cieslak, who was moving around the ring trying to counterattack. In the fourth round, Makabu knocked down Cieslak with an accurate combination and although he appeared to be in bad conditions, his bravery helped him finish the round. In the next round, Cieslak got a knocked down as Makabu put a glove on the canvas, so referee Michael Griffin did a protection count. The rest of the fight became very competitive, but Ilunga’s greater strength and power prevailed.
Makabu showed that despite having stumbled, he fought and worked hard to overcome all obstacles until he conquered his greatest dream…conquering the WBC Green and Gold Belt.
Makabu was recognized a few weeks ago by the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, not only for bringing pride and joy to his country, but for being an exemplary citizen.