Johannesburg - Rated South Africa's top pound-for-pound boxer when he held the IBF strawweight title, East London-based Nkosinathi Joyi has been handed an easy ride back to title prominence.
The IBO has sanctioned his fight against Filipino Rey Lorito in February for the maverick organisation's vacant junior flyweight title.
Lorito, a journeyman boxer who had lost almost as many of his 30-odd fights as those he had won, was rated a mundane 36th by the IBO.
"It's not our business or problem to decide who Nkosinathi will be fighting in Monte Carlo," said Joyi's manager, Siphatho Handi.
"The objective is to get him back into the forefront as a junior flyweight -- similar to the status he enjoyed as a strawweight when he was number two in the world in the division.
"If the IBO are prepared to accept Lorito as a title contender, well and good. That's their decision. The fight for us is a stepping stone and we intend to do the business at hand and not worry about Lorito's credentials."
Meanwhile, Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman, under whose aegis the Monte Carlo tournament would take place in February, said an offer for Joyi to challenge IBF junior flyweight champion Johnriel Casimero had been rejected.
Casimero was required to make a mandatory defence of his title by December 16 and for Joyi to prepare for a major fight at such short notice might not have been feasible.
Berman, however, said the IBF's rating of Joyi as a frontline title challenger was encouraging, with the WBA also having him high on the list of title challengers after his brief appearance in the junior lightweight division.
In his first fight as a junior flyweight four months ago, after losing his IBF strawweight title, Joyi battered Benezer Alolod to a ninth round knockout defeat at Emperors Palace.
He was shaded by Hekkie Budler for the IBO strawweight title at the same venue earlier in the year, but on the evidence of the Alolod fight he had regained his best form and was far from being a has-been at the age of 30.