South African Mchunu headlined the RCC Boxing Academy card card defending his belt against 2016 Olympic champ Tishchenko in his hometown to hand the six-foot-five southpaw his first loss in nine pro fights so far since turning pro in 2018.
The win granted Mchunu number one contender spot for the WBC cruiser title held by fellow South African-based boxer Ilunga Makabu, which would be a rematch of their 2015 bout in Durban which the latter won by 11th-round stoppage.
However, the Russian-promoted Mchunu didn’t rule out facing London’s Okolie, who has 13 stoppage wins from his 16 fights so far, to use the Brit’s punching power against him.
“It will depend on my promoter, the guys from Russia have been doing a great job on my career, promoting me well so I think we’re still going to negotiate with them and see which fight suits me but Okolie is a good boxer he relies on the punching power he’s tall,” he told RT Sport after the fight.
“But guys like that who rely on the punching power, I just use my skills and I believe I am smarter than anyone in the division. I respect him as a boxer. He’s a good boxer. He’s a champion but I can beat him.”
Asked to provide a few words to Okolie promoter Eddie Hearn in a bid to get the fight going, Mchunu replied: “Just put it on. If we negotiate, if they put a good offer, why not? He’s a good champion. I’m a good champion. We put it on and we see who’s the best but I believe I’m better than anyone in the division.”
The 33-year-old, nicknamed ‘The Rock’ for his stocky build, made it two in a row against Russian fighters, his previous victory coming over ex-champ Denis Lebedev in 2019.
“I lost. I need to make conclusions.I felt that I am losing, but I couldn’t do anything to radically change it. Why and how – I need to figure out. It will probably be a lesson to me. I can’t make the same mistakes.
“I know that this was a serious test but I can deal with it, I can get past it. I lost. I should have won. I still have my ambitions to become champion, and they will always be as long as I fight.”