by Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO and WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight/junior featherweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire’s decision to relinquish the International Boxing Federation title has resulted in the IBF lining up contenders for the vacant 122 pound title.
IBF Championship Committee chairman Lindsey Tucker informed BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that South African Takalani Ndlovu will face Mexican Alejandro Lopez at the El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, Texas on October 27 for the No.1 spot in the rankings.
The undefeated 25 year old Jhonatan Romero (22-0, 12 KO’s) of Colombia had earlier won an eliminator for the No.2 spot by defeating 29 year old Efrain Esquivias (16-2, 9 KO’s) of the United States by a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision last September 21.
Tucker told us “now that Donaire has vacated the title, the winner of the Ndlovu-Lopez bout will fight Romero for the vacant title.”
The 34 year old Ndlovu ( 33-7, 18 KO’s) lost the IBF title via a split decision to Jeffrey Mathebula who in turn lost the title by a twelve round unanimous decision to Donaire last July 7 at the Home Depot Center in Carson City, California after being dropped in the 4th round with doctors later discovering that Mathebula’s jaw was broken in two places.
The 25 year old Lopez has a record of 23-2 with 7 knockouts and won the North American Boxing Federation interim title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Teon Kennedy on August 13, 2011.
Donaire relinquished the IBF title on the eve of his WBO/WBC Diamond Belt clash with Japan’s WBC champion emeritus Toshiaki Nishioka whom he dropped in round six and dropped again in round nine which forced referee Raul Caiz Jr to call a halt at 1:54 of the round.
The reason Donaire decided to vacate the title was because he would have had to fight the winner of the Ndlovu-Lopez eliminator in a mandatory which, in most boxing aficionados minds, didn’t make for an attractive fight.
Besides, Donaire was able to save around $35,000 in sanction fees for the Nishioka title defense.