Three title bouts come all at once

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Nkosinathe_Joyi4 Gallo Images Nkosinathi Joyi.

Johannesburg - Three leading South African boxers will take part in fights involving IBF titles in three different countries on Sunday morning (SA time).

Promoter Branco Milenkovic said on Monday he had finalised the negotiations for the country’s top pound-for-pound fighter, Nkosinathi Joyi, to defend his IBF mini-flyweight title against Mexican Mario Rodrigues in Mexico City.

Milenkovic had earlier revealed that Moruti Mthalane would defend his IBF flyweight crown against Ricardo Nunez in Panama City.

On the same day in Buenos Aires, Zolani Tete takes on another Mexican, Roberto Sosa, in a mandatory eliminator for the IBF junior bantamweight title.

“I can’t recall three leading South African boxers featuring in such major contests in three different countries at the same time,” Milen-kovic said.

The fights in Panama City and Buenos Aires on the same day create a huge headache for top South African trainer Nick Durandt, who handles the boxing affairs of both Mthalane and Tete.

“I’d like to be in the corner of both my fighters,” Durandt said. “But I’m no magician. I can’t be in two different places at the same time.

“Mthalane is defending his title, so I might have to go to Panama City, but I’ll give it some thought.”

Meanwhile, while Joyi, Mthalane and Tete are confronted with exciting prospects of furthering their careers and becoming international drawcards, Milenkovic revealed that there was no such good news for Jeffrey Mathebula.

Mathebula surrendered his IBF junior featherweight title to Nonito Donaire in a unification title contest in a rousing fight in Los Angeles last month.

Initially thought to have suffered only a broken tooth from the pounding fists of a fighter considered to be among the leading pound-for-pound boxers in the world, X-rays showed on Mathebula’s return to South Africa that he had broken his jaw as well.

“He needed surgery and had two plates inserted in his jaw, and has also been told he cannot return to the boxing gym for at least two months, with another month before he can think of fighting again,” Milenkovic said.

Donaire had sent Mathebula his condolences and best wishes, according to Milenkovic, after he heard of the South African’s injuries.


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