By Mesuli Zifo
The camp of South African fighter Vusi Malinga has entered the fray sparked by the controversy surrounding Abner Mares’ points victory over Joseph Agbeko by objecting any prospect of an immediate rematch between the two.
This follows Mares’ disputed victory when he lifted the IBF bantamweight title from Agbeko, also claiming the Showtime four-men tournament final in the process at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas at the weekend.
Mares’ win was marred by controversy induced by referee Russell Mora’s poor handling of the fight when he allowed the Mexican to get away with a series of illegal blows while crediting him with questionable knockdowns.
Mora’s handling of the fight has sparked calls for an immediate rematch between the two to produce a likely opponent for WBC/WBO bantamweight king Nonito Donaire.
However Malinga’s promoter Branco Milenkovic has reminded Mares that he would have to honor his mandatory defence obligations to Malinga before thinking about rematching with Agbeko.
“Both Mares and Agbeko officially committed to facing Malinga if either of them win so it is time to honor that commitment,” he said.
Indeed both Mares and Agbeko had to officially commit in writing to fighting Malinga in 90 days after their last weekend’s clash to avoid the winner getting stripped of the IBF title.
This follows Agbeko’s camp requesting the IBF to grant him an extension of his mandatory after he fell ill before his clash against Mares on April 23 forcing the fight to be postponed to last weekend.
Had Agbeko not been granted the extension for his request which was accompanied by a $20 000 check, his clash against Mares last weekend’s clash would have taken place without the IBF crown at stake.
Milenkovic insisted that he would seek for Malinga’s mandatory to be enforced before November 13 as per the agreement.
He ruled out any possibility of Malinga stepping aside to allow an immediate rematch between Mares and Agbeko to take place.
“Malinga has been waiting for close to a year to get his chance at the title,” he said.
Indeed Malinga (20-3-1, 12 KOs) earned the mandatory status last October when he beat Filipino Michael Domingo in South Africa.