South Africa

Mathebula seeks elusive title

2013-12-20 18:42
Jeffrey Mathebula (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - In a continuation of the super bantamweight title merry-go-round, Jeffrey Mathebula has been handed a chance to regain the IBF title against Spain's Kiko Martinez at the Pabellon Esperanza in Elche, Spain, on Saturday night.

Simultaneously, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, a second South African, Vusi Malinga, will face England's Stuart Hall in a bid to gain the IBF bantamweight title he has been chasing for the best part of four years.

Martinez annexed the IBF super bantamweight title in August with a shock sixth-round knockout victory over Jhonatan Romero after acclaimed Filipino and WBO champion Nonito Donaire had relinquished the IBF title he had won in a unification bout with Mathebula.

The South African put up a courageous, but back-to-the-wall performance against a fighter who was ranked among the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world by Ring Magazine, while having his jaw broken halfway through the 12-round bout.

Donaire then gave up the IBF title in order to make a bid to add the WBA title to his WBO crown in another publicised unification fight, but ended up without a title of any sort when he was outpointed by legendary Cuban-born Guillermo Rigondeaux.

After a lengthy lay-off recovering from his broken jaw, the 34 year-old Mathebula repeated an earlier convincing win over Takalani Ndlovu, from whom he had annexed the IBF title in the first place.

The repeat win over Ndlovu earned Mathebula a crack at Martinez's title in a mandatory defence, with the gangling, misleadingly-dangerous "Mongoose" claiming he was destined to regain the title.

"It was a tough ordeal against a boxer of Donaire's ability, especially fighting with a broken jaw," said Mathebula.

"But I always believed I could regain the title and this is my big chance."

Meanwhile, in England, Malinga would be aiming to emulate his legendary uncle, Sugarboy Malinga, by upsetting a local hero and finally becoming the IBF bantamweight champion when he faces Hall for the vacant title.

In 1996, Sugarboy Malinga came to England as a clear underdog against the formidable Nigel "The Dark Destroyer" Benn, but outboxed his much-vaunted opponent for the WBC super middleweight title.

Malinga has twice been involved in a bid for the bantamweight title, suffering a crushing first-round knock-out defeat against Japan's renowned Hozumi Hasegawa in 2010 and, two years later, being outpointed by equally formidable Mexican Leo Santa Cruz in the US.

"I'm familiar with fighting in foreign countries against boxers enjoying huge home support and it's not going to worry me having to do it again," Malinga said.

"This fight is for my father and the need to bring a title back into the family again."

Like Mathebula in Spain, Malinga seemed to have an advantage in skill over his opponent, but the rugged Hall is unrelenting in his approach and will attempt to overcome the South African with an all-action, unrelenting approach.

Read more on:    jeffrey mathebula  |  boxing
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Floyd 'Money' Mayweather v Conor 'The Notorious' McGregor ... who've you got in Saturday's mega fight?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.