Cruel blow to Ju­nior’s IBO belt?

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Tsiko “Cruel Ju­nior” Mulovhedzi is a wor­ried man.

Mulovhedzi is con­cerned that his up­com­ing In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion (IBF) in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal wel­ter­weight ti­tle fight against Ger­many’s Dario Socci might cost him his In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IBO) crown.

Mulovhedzi is sched­uled to go toe to toe with Socci for the va­cant IBF in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship at Man­gaung In­door Sports Cen­tre in Bloem­fontein on March 17.

Al­though Cruel Ju­nior is anx­ious about the up­com­ing bout, he runs the risk of be­ing stripped of the IBO di­a­dem af­ter this fight.

This is be­cause the Lim­popo fighter has not de­fended his cham­pi­onship belt for al­most 11 months – since beat­ing Mex­i­can Je­sus Gur­rola by a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion at Ngoako Ra­matl­hodi Sports Com­plex in Seshego, Lim­popo, in April.

Ac­cord­ing to the rules, a cham­pion is sup­posed to put his crown on the line nine months af­ter his last bout.

Cruel Ju­nior stopped Ali Funeka in the sixth round to win the ti­tle at the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in East Lon­don in July 2015.

“I haven’t de­fended my IBO ti­tle for more than nine months now, and am aware that it might be taken af­ter the Socci fight,” said Mulovhedzi.

But he said he was pre­pared to sur­ren­der the ti­tle and win the IBF in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal di­a­dem even though he re­gards it as “in­fe­rior” com­pared with the IBO crown.

“I’ve al­ready signed to fight Socci and will have to sur­ren­der my IBO belt if it comes to the push.”

Cruel Ju­nior said he had trained hard for the con­test and was con­fi­dent of win­ning by a knock­out.

Socci, who fights out of Ber­lin, comes in with a record 10 wins, two de­feats and one draw from 13 starts.

Mulovhedzi has chalked up 11 vic­to­ries, seven de­feats and three draws in 21 out­ings.

His pro­moter, Ayanda Matiti of Xaba Pro­mo­tions, said the boxer should not worry about los­ing his IBO crown.

“He must just win the IBF in­ter­na­tional con­test in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion and stand a chance of be­ing in the IBF top 10.

“That’s more im­por­tant for him,” said Matiti.

Mean­while, Mbali “Don Queen” Zantsi’s Show­time Box­ing Pro­mo­tions will stage an all-fe­male tour­na­ment at the Kemp­ton Park Civic Hall on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Top­ping the bill will be the South African ju­nior wel­ter­weight ti­tle fight, where cham­pion San­dra Almeida will de­fend her crown against No­ma­dithini Ndyambo.

Almeida stopped Ndyambo in the ninth round at the Mdantsane In­door Cen­tre, East Lon­don, in Oc­to­ber 2014 to win the then va­cant crown.

The main fight on the undercard will fea­ture Si­man­gele Hadebe, who will trade blows with Melissa Miller in a pro­vin­cial ban­tamweight ti­tle bout.

There will be four other fights on the bill.

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

WOR­RIED Tsiko Mulovhedzi says he is wor­ried about los­ing his IBO ti­tle af­ter he fights for the IBF in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship

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