Former IBF junior featherweight champion Takalani Ndlovu has moved up two divisions to fight in the junior lightweight ranks.
Gert Strydom, who has been training Ndlovu for three years, says the move was long overdue. “It won't be a problem; he can match any boxer in that division," Strydom said on Wednesday.
"I wanted to move him up earlier but [promoter] Branco Milenkovic was against the idea as Takalani was highly rated in the junior featherweight division.
“Even when he was still with Manny Fernandez, they tried to move up division but the promoter refused.”
Ndlovu, whose contract with Milenkovic expired last month, will now fight another former IBF lightweight champion, Mzonke Fana, for the vacant WBA Pan African junior lightweight title in East London on September 21.
Ndlovu, who once held the SA junior featherweight title, has lost his last three bouts – twice against former IBF junior featherweight champion Jeffrey Mathebula, and once against Mexican Alejandro Lopez.
Fana has lost his two most recent bouts. The 39-year-old Western Cape fighter failed to win the WBA international lightweight title when he took on Paulos Moses in Windhoek, and also lost in his bid for the WBC super-featherweight belt against Eastern Cape's Sipho Taliwe.
“If this fight happened two or three years ago, I would have given it to Fana but looking at his recent fights, he does not stand a chance,” Strydom said. “Fana is a good fighter and he is talented but Ndlovu will be at his best as a junior lightweight.”
Ndlovu had to work extremely hard to fight at junior featherweight, the trainer added.