by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Well known South African promoter Branco Milenkovic says IBF super bantamweight champion Jeffrey Mathebula is ready to face WBO champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire in an unification battle “even next week.”
Branco told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard in an overseas telephone conversation from South Africa that Mathebula “has been in training for over one month as original negotiations started in April. He’s been ready for the title possibility and to be very frank if Bob (Arum) calls me tonight and says the fight is next week, I will not hesitate to take the fight because Jeff is ready.”
The fight will take place at the Home Depot Center in California on July 7.
Mathebula who is about three inches taller than Donaire, has been sparring a lot against IBF No. 1 Vusi Malinga who is fighting for the vacant bantamweight title against Leo Santa Cruz next week, super bantamweight Macbute Sinyabi who lost by a 10th round TKO in a title eliminator to undefeated Thai Thangthong Kiattaweesuk last May 18, No.1 WBC super bantamweight Simphwe Vetyaka and former IBF junior lightweight champion Malcolm Klassen.
Branco told us Mathebula “is having real sparring in the gym.”
Mathebula, nicknamed “Mongoose” is 32 years old and has a record of 26-3-2 with 14 knockouts. He won the IBF 122 pound title by a twelve round split decision in a rematch with fellow South African Takalani Ndlovu on March 24 this year after losing by a split decision in a title eliminator on September 1, 2010.
He also dropped a controversial twelve round split decision to Panama’s Celestino Caballero in Panama in a clash for the WBA and IBF titles on April 30, 2009.
Mathebula held the WBC International featherweight title from 2005 to 2008 and held the IBO Intercontinental super bantamweight crown in 2003.
He represented South Africa in the 2000 Sydney Olympics winning his first bout against Algeria’s Noureddine Medjihoud 10-5 but lost in the next round to Kazakhstan’s Bezkat Sattarkhanov 5-16.
Bezkat went on to win the gold medal in the featherweight division beating Ricardo Jimenez of the US 22-14. Regrettably, the Olympic gold medalist lost his life in a tragic car accident in Kazakhstan on New Year’s eve 2000.
Donaire, the 29 year old four division world champion has a record of 28-1 with 18 knockouts and won the WBO title with a comfortable twelve round unanimous decision over former champion Wilfredo Vazquez of Puerto Rico at the Alamadome in San Antonio, Texas on February 4, 2012 . Donaire dropped Vazquez Jr in the 9th round.
However, to the dismay of boxing writers and fight fans one judge, Ruben Garcia scored the fight 115-112 for Vasquez while the two other judges Levi Martinez and Don Trella had Donaire the winner by a wide 117-110 margin.
Donaire’s first major title was the IBF/IBO flyweight championship when he scored a spectacular 5th round TKO victory over Australia’s Vic Darchinyan on July 7, 2007 which earned for Donaire the “Knockout of the Year” and the “Upset of the Year” from Ring Magazine.
He then went on to win the WBA super flyweight interim title with an 8th round TKO of Mexican Hernan “Tyson” Marquez on July 10, 2010 and followed up by scoring a sensational 2nd round TKO of Mexican veteran Fernando “Cochulito” Montiel on February 19, 2011 to win the WBC/WBO bantamweight belts.
Donaire told us the other day he would fight anybody they put in front of him and added, “I will take them down, one by one.”
Donaire has been training at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas since last week and felt so good that after a couple of days he decided to spar four rounds.