South African IBF strawweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi this week confirmed a well-kept secret that he broke his right hand in the third round of his clear-cut, 12-round title defence against Japan's Katsunari Takayama three months ago.
Right now, however, the mercurial 29 year-old Eastern Cape fighter, who is ranked number one in the world in his division by the influential Ring Magazine and is considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in South Africa, is more peeved about a broken dream than his now-mended right hand.
“Yes, the hand has healed well,” Joyi said, while revealing that his training corner was on the verge of throwing in the towel in the fight against Takayama when they heard about the hand injury.
“It was the toughest ordeal of my career fighting with a broken hand, but I told my trainer I would see it through and now I can't wait to get into the ring again.
“But it seems my dream of becoming champion of the WBA, the WBC, the WBO, as well as the IBF, and becoming one of the few undisputed world champions, has hit a big snag.”
Negotiations were at an advanced stage for Joyi to fight last week's winner of the fight between WBC champion Kazuto Ioka and WBA champion Akira Yaegashi in a high-profiled, all-Japanese confrontation in Osaka last week.
Such a fight would have given the chance to usurp three of the four major organisations' titles and place him within reach of the currently unique four “big titles” mark.
Though the unbeaten Ioka edged out Yaegashi on points in a rousing,12-round battle, BSP promoter Branco Mileknovic, who organises Joyi's affairs, confirmed on Friday that Ioka's handlers had done a complete about-face and were now showing little interest of furthering the unification process with a fight against Joyi.
“They must have heard something about Joyi's prowess,” Milenkovic said.
“Perhaps they figured that anyone who can beat fellow countryman and former WBC champion Takayama with a broken hand, is best steered well clear of under any circumstances.”
Milenkovic said, however, with Joyi now fully fit to fight again, he would probably engage in a voluntary defence of his IBF title in the meantime and hoped that Ioka's advisors had a change of heart or that there was a change in the international strawweight title scenario.
Joyi also confirmed there was little chance of him fighting Hekkie Budler, the fellow-South African holder of the IBO strawweight title.
“It would be a big drawcard,” he said, “and I'd love to get into the ring with Hekkie.”
But Joyi said there was “too much promotional politics” for a Budler fight to materialise.
“In any case,” he added, “he was offered an elimination fight for my IBF title, but his handlers turned it down.
“And fighting for the the less important IBO title would be a backward step for me, so I'm not really concerned abouta Budler fight being a no-go proposition.” – Sapa