IBF bouts signed for SA stars

2012-07-26 18:22

Johannesburg - Negotiations have been completed for South African boxers, Moruti Mthalane and Zolani Tete, to engage in major IBF fights on the same day - but in different continents.

Promoter Branco Milenkovic on Thursday announced that tearaway Mthalane would defend his IBF flyweight crown against Ricardo Nunez in Panama City, Panama on September 1.

On the same day in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tete will take on Roberto Sosa in a mandatory eliminator for the IBF junior bantamweight title.

Both Nunez and Sosa are Mexican fighters.

"It's a shame that Mthalane and Tete should not have the opportunity to be involved in such challenging bouts against world-class fighters on home soil in South Africa," said Milenkovic.

"With the [local] TV stations maintaining a financially crippling blackout of major boxing in the country, there is no alternative for our fighters but to travel overseas for the chance to receive suitable financial rewards for their efforts."

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

"Of course I'd like to be in the corner of both my fighters," Durandt.

"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."

Apart from defending his IBF title, Mthalane also has his eye on future unification fights, as well as improving his rating among the world's leading pound-for-pound boxers, according to Milenkovic.

While 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 Los Angeles, United States earlier this month.

It was initially thought to have suffered only a broken tooth from the pounding fists from a leading pound-for-pound fighter, X-rays showed that Mathebula had broken his jaw as well.

"He (Mathebula) needed intricate surgery and had two plates inserted in his jaw, as well as being told he cannot return to the boxing gym for at least two months," Milenkovic said.

"Donaire, however, showed he is not only a great fighter but a gentleman by sending his condolences to Mathebula.

"He said he was sending his prayers and best wished to someone who had the heart of a champion."