By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Froilan “The Sniper” Saludar has earned a mandatory title shot at IBF flyweight champion Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane of South Africa.
IBF Championship Committee chairman Lindsey Tucker Jr has informed Mthalane’s promoter, well-known South African Branco Milenkovic and international promoter and matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, who represents Saludar in partnership with Filipino promoter Sammy Gello-ani, that Mthalane “is due for his mandatory defense on or before June 1, 2013. The leading available contender is No. 3 ranked Froilan Saludar.”
Tucker informed both parties that “Negotiations should begin immediately and concluded by May 1, 2013. In the event you have not negotiated this bout by that date, the IBF will call for a purse bid. Should you reach an agreement before May 1, 2013, kindly contact this office so that we can proceed with this mandatory defense.”
ABC TV 5 had expressed interest in staging a double championship card which would include an IBF light flyweight title defense of Johnreil Casimero.
Gello-ani opened negotiations with ABC TV 5 sports head Chot Reyes regarding the championship double-header but as of now there have been no positive developments according to Gello-ani.
Gello-ani told the Manila Standard that” the Mthalane team is willing to fight in the Philippines under a good offer negotiated by my partner Sampson Lewkowicz, hence we need an immediate response from TV 5 otherwise we will entertain other options before the May 1 deadline.”
The 30 year old Mthalane has a record of 29-2 with 20 knockouts and in his last title defense scored an 8th round TKO over Ricardo Nunez in Panama City on September 1 last year. He also successfully defended his title against Casimero who moved up in weight to challenge the South African but couldn’t handle the altitude problem and lost by a 5th round TKO.
Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire defended his IBF/IBO flyweight titles against Mthalane on November 1, 2008 and won by a 6th round TKO although Mthalane gave him some problems early in the fight before Donaire broke his nose and bloodied his face forcing the referee to call a halt.
The undefeated Saludar is six years younger and has a record of 16-0-1 with 11 knockouts. He won the WBO Oriental flyweight interim title last February 10, 2012 with a 10th round TKO over Jose Alfredo Tirado after earlier winning the WBO Youth and WBA Asia Pacific flyweight title with a unanimous ten round decision over Alejandro Morales at the Hoops Dome in Lapu Lapu City on March 17, 2012.
ABC 5 had previously telecast some of Saludar’s more recent fight and also telecast the fights of the 23 year old Casimero (18-2, 10 KO’s) including his title win over Luis Lazarte in Argentina on February 10, 2012 by a 10th round TKO which was marred by a full-scale riot by Lazarte supporters in which Casimero and Gello-ani were injured.
The network also telecast his successful title defense against Pedro Guevara in Mexico which Casimero won in a close split decision on August 4, 2012 after which he successfully defended his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Luis Alberto Rios in a mandatory in Panama.