EAST LONDON, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 30, Nkosinathi Joyi and Katsunari Takayama during the International Boxing Federation minimumweight title bout between Nkosinathi Joyi and Katsunari Takayama at Orient Theatre on March 30, 2012 in East London, South Africa Photo by Gallo Images

Latest rankings of the many international boxing associations indicate that South Africa has no fewer than 11 world champions.

However this is something of an illusion.The authorative Ring Magazine, whose rankings are widely considered to be the most accurate and legitimate, has only East london-based IBF straw weight champion Nkosinanthi Joyi as the best in his division in the world.

The only other South African so-called world champions who are even rated among the top 10 in their division by Ring Magazine are IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane in fourth position; Jeffrey Mathabukla, rated the sixth-best junior featherweight and IBO champion Tommy Oosthuizen, who is placed seventh among the super middleweights.

Other IBO champions, Chris van Heerden (welterweight), Kaizer Mabuza (junior welterweight), Tshifiwa Munyai (super bantamweight) and Hekkie Budler (straw weight), as well as WBF champions Ali Funeka (light welterweight), Malcolm Klassen (super featherweight) and Lubelo Msuthu (bantamweight) are not considered by Ring Magazine to be among the 10 best in their respective divisions.

World boxing is today a divided house, with four major associations in the WBA, the WBC, the IBF and the WBO widely considered as the most legitimate and forming a loose form of mutual recognition of their own.

But there are various other associations, among them the IBO and the WBF, all claiming world champions.

The halcyon era of the sport when boxing had only eight official world boxing champions and the WBA was the only recognised controlling body are now long gone.

Apart from the myriad of different controlling bodies, the weight divisions have also mushroomed from eight to 17 and as one American pundit described it “world boxing champions are now a dime to the dozen.” It is a moot point whether unity will ever again prevail in the running of world boxing in the manner that Fifa controls soccer, the ICC rules over cricket matters and the IRB controls rugby.

“The more champions we have,” explained one local promoter succinctly, “the more title fights we can stage.” – Sapa