Vusi Malinga (20-3-1, 12KOs) will fight for the IBF bantamweight title within three months, according to the sanctioning body. The unbeaten champion, Abner Mares, has been given a mandatory three-month period to defend his title against the 32-year-old South African.
Branco Milenkovic, of Branco Sports Promotions, announced on Wednesday that the IBF had told Mares to defend the belt against Malinga after a series of delays during the past 15 months. The fight will take place in Mexico or the United States.
The fight is likely to be staged in February, March or April. But Milenkovic is on good terms with Mares's promoters and a venue that should please Malinga and his handlers is likely to be found.
Malinga was in line to fight Joseph Agbeko from Ghana for the IBF bantamweight title ever since he beat Michael Domingo from the Philippines in September last year, said Milenkovic.
"But all sorts of obstacles stood in the way and resulted in Malinga being kept on a string.”
First, Agbeko lost his title to Mares in a controversial bout. Then the IBF ordered a rematch after Agbeko’s handlers had lodged a protest over low blows. Then, after more delays and arguments the return was finally arranged. Mares, 26, won again and there were no more arguments.