By Ronnie Nathanielsz
International Boxing Federation flyweight champion Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane (27-2, 18 KO’s) is ready to defend his title against undefeated Filipino Milan “Methodico” Melindo (24-0, 8 KO’s) if the price is right.
Mthalane retained his title in Johannesburg with a 5th round TKO over former WBO light flyweight Interim champion Johnreil Casimero (14-2, 8 KO’s) at the Nasrec Indoor Stadium in Johannesburg last Sunday, Manila time.
Multi award-winning promoter Branco Milenkovic told the Inquirer “I have no problem coming to the Philippines, especially to Cebu, because you know my love f or your country and the support I have given boxers from the Philippines.”
However, the multi award-winning South African promoter said “as you know in this business, money talks.”
Milenkovic pointed out that he paid Sterve Molitor $250,000 to defend his IBF junior featherweight title against Takalani Ndlovu which he claimed was “unthinkable for the junior featherweight division.”
Milenkovic stressed “this is what promoters need to do when they want to bring champions to the challenger’s backyard.” He conceded “it is risky but Melindo’s promoters will have to take the risk if they have faith in their fighter, same as I had faith in Ndlovu which did pay off.”
At the same time Mthalane’s promoter said the champion will have “no problem fighting anybody because he is the best flyweight in the world.”
The promoter conceded that in their title fight Casimero “did start well and tried to mix it up” but refused to accept the fact that Casimero couldn’t breathe and faded as the fight progressed before calling it quits at 1:51 of round five. Milenkovic insisted that the real problem was not the high altitude or the fact that Casimero hadn’t trained hard enough. He said the 21 year old Casimero “felt the power of Mthalane, that’s why he said his ribs were hurting. It had nothing to do with the altitude but with Mthalane’s body punches.”
The respected South African promoter now has four world champions… IBF minimum weight Nkosinathi Joyi, flyweight Mthalane, junior featherweight Ndlovu and junior lightweight champion Mzonke Fana.