Johannesburg - Following Malcolm Klassen's impressive victory over Cassius
Baloyi late last year, Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman announced he would
make every effort to secure the maverick boxer the chance to fight for a third
IBF super featherweight title.
It has not quite worked out that way. But the Golden Gloves promoter has now
achieved the next best thing - a shot at the IBO title against champion Will
Tomlinson at the Melbourne Pavilion in Australia on May 10. The tearaway
Tomlinson, with an unbeaten career record of 20 wins and a draw, will provide a
stern test for Klassen and demonstrate where he currently stands in the
international pecking order of top super featherweight boxers.
The 30-year-old Klassen has held the title of the less-acclaimed WBF
association recently, but his erratic behaviour outside the ring - allied to
contractual disputes with promoters and differences with trainers -has resulted
in him only fighting three times in the last three years.
"In the right mood," said Berman, "Klassen is capable of beating
almost anyone and he still retains all the boxing skill and craft that earned
him two IBF championship belts in the past." Berman said he had made
contact with the IBF organisation in a bid to map out a course that would
enable Klassen to fight current IBF champion Juan Carlos Salgado in a
unification bout if he beats Tomlinson.
But the diminutive, darting and deceptively hard-hitting Klassen would need
to show that he can add previously suspect patience and reliability to his
repertoire if he is to work his way through top fighters like the Dominican
Republic's Algenis Mendes, the United States' Diego Magdaleno and Rances
Barthelemy and Argentina's Fernando Sance - and ultimately come up against
Also on the Melbourne Pavilion bill on May 10, South Africa's Sipho Taliwe
meets another leading Australian fighter in Matt Garlett and Danie Venter
completes the trio of South Africa-Australia bouts against Brad Pitt. Taliwe
and Venter are also facing bouts that could determine their boxing futures to a