Nkosinathi Joyi.

Acclaimed Nkosinathi Joyi, rated by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer in South Africa and No 1 in the world in his division by Ring Magazine, has been granted a reprieve.

Joyi will not be stripped of his IBF strawweight title if the mandatory defence against Japan's Kutsanari Takayama does not take place before the end of the month.

This was confirmed on Friday by Branco Sports Promotions supremo Branco Milenkovic, who said the IBF had granted an extension for the Joyi-Takayama bout, inititally scheduled for October 29 in East London, due to extenuating circumstances.

“The fight was to have been sponsored by the Eastern Cape government through their Tourism Board,” Milenkovic said.

“But the sponsorship was withdrawn at the last minute, leaving us in a predicament without the promised financial backing.

“The IBF have accepted the evidence that the postponement was beyond our control and have given us additional time to stage the bout, which might now take place in Gauteng.”

Milenkovic said Joyi's mandatory defence of his IBF strawweight title against Takayama was an eagerly-awaited meeting after their first bout was declared a no contest following an accidental clash of heads in the third round.

“Joyi is the highest-rated South African boxer in the world right now,” Milenkovic said.

“Takayama proved his mettle while gaining a sixth round tko victory over Tshepo Lefele in an IBF title eliminator, and after the unfortunate early ending to the title fight against Joyi, there is clearly some unfinished business in store between the two of them.”

Milenkovic said he was confident of completing a hat-trick of IBF title defences by South African boxers under his banner when the mercurial Joyi eventually squared up against Takayama.

Moruti Mthalane and Takalane Ndlovu retained their IBF flyweight and IBF junior-featherweight titles last week. – Sapa