SA Boxing could pack a historic punch

2012-04-28 18:35

By June, South African boxing could accomplish a historic feat by having five credible world champions simultaneously.

That is if Vusi “Marvellous” Malinga seizes the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world bantamweight crown against unbeaten American Leo “Earthquake” Santa Cruz.

They meet for the vacant title in Los Angeles on June 2.

Currently, the country has four world champions from one of the acknowledged organisations,the IBF.

They are mini flyweight Nkosinathi “Mabhere” Joyi, flyweight Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane, super bantamweight Jeffrey “Marvellous Mongoose” Mathebula and the only female welterweight, Noni Tenge.

Another extraordinary feat is that the quartet’s exploit was masterminded by one promoter, Branco “Baby” Milenkovic.

South Africa initially boasted four prestigious world champions at the same time last year.

They were super bantamweight Takalani “Panther” Ndlovu, Joyi, Mthalane and super featherweight Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelitsha” Fana.

Ndlovu was dethroned by compatriot Mathebula last month and Fana was mysteriously, without a satisfactory reason, deposed by the IBF last year.

South Africa has other so-called world champions, but they are from organisations that are not recognised.
The prestigious world governing bodies are the IBF, World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO).

Malinga’s responsibility is far more than just winning a world crown.

The unorthodox fighter needs to put the country in the limelight by increasing the number of world champions.

Malinga initially qualified for the crown when he beat Michael Domingo on points in an elimination bout in Mafikeng on October 30 last year.

The local, who is trained by his father, Jabu Malinga, won 20 of his 24 battles, 12 on knockouts, losing three and drawing one.

This will be his second crack at a world title.

He previously lost on a first-round technical knockout against Hozumi Hasegawa for the WBC bantamweight crown in Japan three years ago.

Santa Cruz’s unblemished record suggests that Malinga has a formidable assignment. The American has beaten 19 of his 20 foes, 11 on knockouts and has drawn one.

There will be a number of exciting battles in the next two months.

Unbeaten Floyd “Money” Mayweather challenges Miguel Cotto for the WBA junior middleweight crown in Las Vegas on May 5.

In a grudge encounter, Lamont Peterson defends the IBF, WBA super lightweight crowns against Amir Khan in Las Vegas on May 19.

And Chris van Heerden and Sebastian Lujan meet for the International Boxing Organisation welterweight crown at Emperors Palace on June 16.

The two lucrative bouts will be beamed live on SuperSport2 and HD2 from 3am on the respective dates, while the bill featuring Van Heerden will be shown at 8.30pm.

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