Joyi set for the big time

2012-03-27 17:59

Johannesburg - Nkosinathi Joyi, regarded as South Africa's top pound-for-pound fighter and rated the best boxer in his division in the world by the authorative Ring Magazine, will be in line for a world unification bout if he wards off the challenge for his IBF straw-weight title from Japan's Katsunari Takayama in East London on Friday night.

This was revealed on Tuesday by BSP impressario Branco Milenkovic, who is organising the East London programme and said plans were already underway to match Joyi with champions from other top boxing associations if he beats Takayama in a much-anticipated and long-awaited return confrontation.

When Joyi and Takayama met initially at Emperors Palace, the fight was stopped prematurely and declared a no-contest after Takayama received an accidental head cut in the early rounds - but with Joyi already clearly ahead on points.

With a flawless record of 21 victories from his 21 fights, Milenkovic believes Joyi is ready for the challenge.

"Joyi has already proved his mettle and is ready to take the next step forward in his impressive career," Milenkovic said.

The BSP promoter said that while there were numerous champions of one sort or another in South Africa, it was long overdue for the country to have a unified champion who is universally accepted by the various boxing associations.

"I believe Joyi has the credentials to go all the way," added Milenkovic.

"There are some pretty formidable fighters who are recognised as champions by the WBA, WBC and the other leading associations, but Joyi's record stands up as being as good as any of them."

Milenkovic believes that an elimination contest between Joyi and the other champions could act as a catalyst for reviving boxing in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the BSP promoter said that plans had been underway to hold the Joyi-Takayama fight in Gauteng, but he had received "a mountain of pleas" to stage the bout in what he described as the boxing-mad Eastern Cape. "You have to see the enthusiasm for boxing in the Eastern Cape generally and East London in particular to believe it," said Milenkovic.

"And I felt duty-bound to change plans for the venue - particularly as Joyi hails from the East London area.

"Boxing in South Africa might have its problems, but it is thriving in East London."