By Mesuli Zifo
The stand-off between South African fighter Simpiwe Vetyeka and the IBO has led to him vacating their featherweight crown ahead of his highly anticipated clash against Filipino Nonito Donaire in Macau on May 31.
Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KOs) was scheduled to defend his IBO and WBA featherweight titles against the Filipino Flash, but after fight promoter Bob Arum as well as Donaire declined to pay the sanctioning fee to the IBO - only the WBA will be at stake.
Vetyeka won the IBO crown with a come-from-behind 12th round stoppage of Indonesian Daud Yordan in Jakarta in April last year.
The big win earned him a unification clash against Yordan's compatriot Chris John who risked his WBA title in the fight last December in Australia.
Vetyeka stunned John with a six rounds stoppage, handing John his first loss in 51 fights and ended his career.
However while the fight was billed as unification clash, Vetyeka did not enter the ring with the IBO belt prompting IBO president Ed Levine to demand an explanation.
Vetyeka's manager Andile Sidinile explained that Vetyeka's IBO belt was being kept by his previous trainer Nick Durandt who refused to hand it over until Vetyeka had repaid him his undisclosed money.
And when Levine discovered that no arrangement has been made to have the IBO at stake against Donaire (32-2, 21KOs), he threatened to strip Vetyeka.
“We explained to the IBO that it was not our fault that the IBO will not be at stake but Uncle Bob,” Sidinile said. “Look we are not promoters of this fight and if Bob and Donaire are not interested in the IBO crown and are therefore refusing to pay the sanctioning fee there is nothing we can do about it.”
Sidinile admitted that the IBO opened the door for Vetyeka as his victory over Yordan gave him an exposure to entice John into a fight.
“We are grateful to the IBO for affording us the chance to fight for its title because we ended up getting a fight against John,” Sidinile continued.
Sidinile revealed that he had pleaded with the IBO to allow Vetyeka fight Donaire on the understanding that the South African would commit himself to defending the crown afterwards.
Already former IBF junior featherweight champion Takalani Ndlovu was earmarked to challenge Vetyeka for the IBO title in a fight Sidinile was planning to stage in East London, South Africa.
However the IBO could not budge as it wanted its title to be stake in the clash against Donaire failing which Vetyeka would be stripped.
It is the second time Vetyeka loses the IBO crown without defending it in the ring after he also forfeited its bantamweight crown he had won it by beating another Filipino Eric Barcelona in 2009.
When his relationship with South African top promoter Rodney Berman soured, Vetyeka found himself out in the cold and could not honour his title defence obligations while he was also struggling to make the bantamweight division.
Sidinile promised that the gamble to vacate the IBO would pay off when Vetyeka beats Donaire and vault himself into the mix of lucrative bouts in the talent rich featherweight division.