Johannesburg – Following Malcolm Klassen's impressive victory over Cassius Baloyi late last year, Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman announced he would make every effort to secure the maverick boxer the chance to fight for a third IBF super featherweight title.
It has not quite worked out that way. But the Golden Gloves promoter has now achieved the next best thing - a shot at the IBO title against champion Will Tomlinson at the Melbourne Pavilion in Australia on May 10.
The tearaway Tomlinson with an unbeaten career record of 20 wins and a draw, will provide a stern test for Klassen and demonstrate where he currently stands in the international pecking order of top super featherweight boxers.
The 30 year-old Klassen has held the title of the less-acclaimed WBF association recently, but his erratic behaviour outside the ring - allied to contractual disputes with promoters and differences with trainers -has resulted in him only fighting three times in the last three years.
“In the right mood,” said Berman, “Klassen is capable of beating almost anyone and he still retains all the boxing skill and craft that earned him two IBF championship belts in the past.”
Berman said he had made contact with the IBF organisation in a bid to map out a course that would enable Klassen to fight current IBF champion Juan Carlos Salgado in a unification bout if he beats Tomlinson.
But the diminutive, darting and deceptively hard-hitting Klassen would need to show that he can add previously suspect patience and reliability to his repertoire if he is to work his way through top fighters like the Dominican Republic's Algenis Mendes, the United States' Diego Magdaleno and Rances Barthelemy and Argentina's Fernando Sance - and ultimately come up against Salgado.
Also on the Melbourne Pavilion bill on May 10, South Africa's Sipho Taliwe meets another leading Australian fighter in Matt Garlett and Danie Venter completes the trio of South Africa-Australia bouts against Brad Pitt.
Taliwe and Venter are also facing bouts that could determine their boxing futures to a great extent.