Johannesburg – Following what has so far been an impressive comeback to boxing, after an absence of almost two years, South African Malcolm Klassen has the chance to revive his career when he challenges unbeaten Australian Will Tomlinson for the IBO super-featherweight title in Melbourne on Thursday.
After Klassen's recent impressive victory over veteran Cassius Baloyi, Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman was moved to announce he would make every effort to secure the maverick 30-year-old boxer the chance to fight for a third IBF super-featherweight title.
It has not quite worked out that way, but the Golden Gloves promoter has achieved the next best thing – a shot for Klassen at the IBO title, which should reveal where he currently stands in the international pecking order of top super-featherweight boxers.
While capturing the less-acclaimed WBF association title at the start of his comeback, he has fought only three times in the last three years, due to contractual disputes with promoters and differences with his trainers.
“In the right mood, Klassen is capable of beating almost anyone and he still clearly retains all the boxing skill and craft that earned him his two IBF championship belts in the past,” Berman said on Wednesday.
The Golden Gloves promoter said he had made contact with the IBF organisation in a bid to map out a course that would enable Klassen to fight current IBF champion Juan Carlos Salgado in a unification bout if he beats Tomlinson.
But the diminutive, darting and deceptively hard-hitting Klassen will need to show that he can add previously suspect patience and reliability to his repertoire if he is to ultimately come up against Salgado.
Tomlinson has become one of the biggest drawcards in Australian boxing after dethroning Mexico's Alan Herrera for the IBO super-featherweight title two years ago Ä and defending it against another Mexican, the highly-regarded Daniel Ruiz.
Also on the Melbourne bill, South Africa's Sipho Taliwe defends his WBC International super-featherweigth title against another leading Australian fighter, Matt Garlett, and like Klassen this is a bout that could determine Taliwe's future to a great extent.
A tilt at the fully-fledged WBC title is in the offing if he beats the up-and-coming 26-year-old Garlett, who has lost only one of his 10 professional fights.