Johannesburg – Former IBF strawweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi will be fighting for the vacant IBO junior flyweight crown at Emperors Palace on February 15, Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman said on Friday.
The opponent of the IBO's third-ranked Joyi, who was at one stage considered the country's top pound-for-pound boxer, had still to be finalised, with either of Mexico's Moses Fuentes or Pedro Guevara, both rated ahead of the South African, the most logical choice.
But the IBO's sanctioning of title contenders was unpredictable, as was evident by South Africa's Sipho Taliwe, rated 43rd by the IBO, challenging Indonesian Daud Yordan for the organisation's lightweight title at the Metro Centre in Perth on December 6.
Yordan surrendered his IBO featherweight title earlier in the year after suffering a shock defeat against another South African, Simpiwe Vetyeka. He promptly bounced back by moving up two divisions and annexing the IBO lightweight title in a win over Argentinean Daniel Brizuela.
Also on the Perth bill, IBO featherweight champion Vetyeka would come up against legendary, unbeaten WBA super featherweight champion Chris John in an intriguing encounter with unification undertones in the international boxing title merry-go-round.
Meanwhile, on December 22nd, South Africa's Jeffrey Mathebula, a former IBF champion, would be aiming to regain his junior featherweight title against Spain's current champion, Kiko Martinez, at Valencia's International Sports Centre.
And the jinxed, under-priced defence of Moruti Mthalane's IBF flyweight title was also back on track, however, not quite in the way South Africa's longest existing international champion – and the only one to currently hold a title of one of boxing's “big four” organisations – must have desired.
Following another under-priced purse bid organised by the IBF, Thai promoter Jimmy Chaichotchuang was the only participant, with Mthalane now due to fight Amnat Ruenroeng in Thailand within a mandatory 90 days.
“I'm waiting to hear from the promoter,” said Mthalane's trainer, Nick Durandt. “But I would imagine it is likely to be some time in January if there are no further complications.”
The 35 year-old Ruenroeng is a former Asian amateur champion, who also represented his country at the Beijing Olympic Games. He was unbeaten in 12 professional fights and was ranked sixth by the IBF.
The re-arranged title fight follows the cancellation of the repeatedly, on-off bout in Germany last month in which Mthalane was due to make a mandatory defence against European champion Silvio Olteanu for a relatively meagre purse of R85 000 for a boxer of his calibre.
Durandt lambasted local promoters for not joining in the bidding.
“For his last title defence, Moruti netted a R700 000 purse. Now after securing another impressive win, he has to go overseas again and accept something like R120 000 to hold onto his title in Thailand.”
Durandt said Mthalane had become frustrated after not having fought since he gained a stunning eighth round tko victory over the fancied Ricardo Nunes at the Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City more than a year ago.
“But I have to hand it to the boy,” said Durandt. “He has not let all the complications get him down and he has continued training diligently like the true professional that he is.”
Mthalane, rated fourth best flyweight in the world by the authoritative Ring magazine and boasted a record of 29 wins from 31 fights with 20 KOs, had not fought in South Africa for almost four years.