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Wed Apr 23 19:21:53 SAST 2014

Milenkovic's bite as big as his bark

BONGANI MAGASELA | 14 June, 2012 06:560 Comments
Branco Milenkovic and Baby Jake Matlala during the Bantamweight match at Carousel Casino in Temba
Image by: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

BOXING promoter Branco Milenkovic backs his big mouth with action.

The towering Serb took the boxing fraternity and the media alike by huge surprise yesterday when he announced that he had successfully convinced the hierarchy of the New York based IBF sanctioning boxing body that his charges Takalani “The Panther” Ndlovu and Zolani “Last Born” Tete deserved chances to fight for IBF title eliminators.

He said that was based on the fact that both Ndlovu and Tete lost their big fights recently via close split points decisions. Ndlovu lost the IBF junior featherweight belt to Jeffrey “The Mongoose” Mathebula in Brakpan on March 24, while Tete was defeated by Alberto Rosas for the IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator in Mexico in November.

Milenkovic said he convinced the IBF during his visit to Los Angeles 10 days ago. He was there with his other charge Vus’’Umuzi “Marvelous” Malinga, who failed to win the IBF bantamweight belt.

Ndlovu, who has been a professional for 24 years and is a former SA and WBF featherweight, IBO and IBF junior featherweight holder, will fight Mexican Alejandro Lopez.

The winner will be mandatory challenger for the victor between Mathebula and WBO champion Nonito Donaire.

 The unification bout between Mathebula and the “Filipino Flash” will take place in the US on July 7.

Ndlovu is rated No 5, a spot below Lopez, and victory will make him the only South African fighter to fight three times for the IBF junior featherweight title, which was first held by Welcome Ncita before his stable- mate Vuyani “The Beast” Bungu won it.

Bungu vacated it and Lehlohonolo “Hands of Stone” Ledwaba won but was dethroned by Manny Pacquiao.

Meanwhile Tete will do battle with Roberto Sosa from Argentina in the IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator. Tete is rated no 5, while Sosa is two spots above.The title is currently held by another Mexican Juan Sanchez.

Milenkovic added that reigning IBF flyweight holder Moruti “Baby Face” Mthalane will defend against mandatory challenger Ricardo Nunez from Panama. This will be Tete’s fourth defence. He boasts a fifth-round stoppage victory against Tete. The latter, from the Eastern Cape, relocated to Johannesburg and teamed up with Mthalane’s mentor Nick Durandt.

Milenkovic said all three fights will take place between the end of July and August with possible venues being South Africa, the USA, Mexico and Panama. Ndlovu, who is trained by Gert Strydom, has 33 wins (18 KOs) and seven losses while Lopez has two losses against 23 wins with only seven finishing inside the distance.

Tete has 16 wins (14 KOs) and two losses, while Sosa is unbeaten after 23 fights with (14 KOs). “They are equally big punchers and this fight may not go the distance,” predicted Milenkovic. Mthalane’s record reads 28 wins (19 kos) and two losses while Nunez has 24 wins (20 KOs) and two losses both by KO.

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Milenkovic's bite as big as his bark

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