Showtime for top SA fighters
SA boxers will have a fair share of the international limelight during the next three months.
Promoter Branco Milenkovic has announced details of several IBF title fights and eliminators in which SA boxers will compete.
Milenkovic revealed on Wednesday that IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane will meet a dangerous Panamanian challenger, Ricardo Nunez, in a mandatory defence.
Former IBF featherweight champion Takalani Ndlovu will meet Mexican Alejandro Lopez in a final eliminator to fight for the title he previously held.
"The big incentive for Ndlovu is that he will not only get a crack at the IBF title if he beats Lopez, but he willl fight an opponent who is the dual IBF and WBO champion," Milenkovic said.
This will happen because another South African, Jeffrey Mathabula, is due to fight WBO champion Nonito Donaire in a unification bout in Los Angeles on July 7.
Mathabula relieved Ndlovu of his IBF title recently.
"Losing to Mathebula was a demoralising blow. I thought I faced a long road to get back to the top," Ndlovu said on Wednesday.
"Little did I realise I could have an opportunity to become a unified champion so soon."
Milenkovic's plans for SA fighters also include a daunting IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator between Zolani Tete and Argentina’s Roberto Sosa, who is undefeated in 23 professional fights.
"What makes this a real coup for South African fighters is that the IBF, along with the WBA, the WBC and the WBO, is universally recognised as one of the leading controlling bodies in boxing," Milenkovic said.
"The downside is that, because of the lack of finance and other assistance, the fights on the calendar may all have to take place in the United States, Mexico, Panama or Argentina.
"I will do all within my power to see that some of these fights take place in South Africa but this can only be done if we have the money to match the purses that are being offered in other countries."
BEST FIGHTER IN SOUTH AFRICA
RON JACKSON writes that Mthalane is considered as South Africa’s best fighter, pound for pound. The IBF have ordered him to meet Nunez, the mandatory challenger.
The 30-year-old Mthalane who won the vacant belt when he beat Julio Cesar Miranda on points in November 2009. He has made successful defences by stopping Zolani Tete and Johnriel Casimero in the fifth round and Andrea Sarritzu in the seventh.
The 24-year-old Nunez has a record of 24-2, including 20 knockouts. He is from La Chorrera in Panama and is expected to give the champion a tough challenge.
Nunez is the WBC Latino flyweight champion and is unbeaten in his last eight fights. He won six of those inside the distance. In his most recent fight, in April this year, he stopped Carlos Tamara (22-6-1) in the sixth round.
Mthalane’s handlers still have to agree on terms with the Nunez camp otherwise the fight will go to purse offers.