BOXING promoter Branco Milenkovic has won the rights to stage the IBF junior bantamweight title between undisputed champion Vic Darchinyan and mandatory challenger Simphiwe Nongqayi.
Milenkovic's achievement came on Tuesday night when he won the purse bid of $100000 (R785000) in New Jersey, New York. Darchinyan's promoter, Gary Shaw, did not bid.
But Milenkovic, who owns Branco Sports Promotions, said yesterday that Darchinyan had vacated the title. "He did that just after hearing about the outcome of the bid," Milenkovic said.
It is unclear if this Australian fighter, known as the "Raging Bull" - and who ended the illustrious career of South Africa's best-ever flyweight fighter Mzukisi "Laciar" Sikali with an eighth-round stoppage for both the IBF and IBO belts in 2005 - relinquished the IBF belt because of disappointment that his promoter Gary Shaw did not bother to bid or was just not keen to come to South Africa.
Milenkovic, who was voted IBF promoter of 2008, said his charge's chances of winning the IBF belt were now even higher.
"I am already in negotiations with promoter Fernando Beltran from Mexico - who controls number three-rated contender Jorge Arce - with the possibility of staging this fight either here or in Mexico," he said.
Nongqayi's skills are honed by Nick Durandt, who guided him to victory for the IBF mandatory fight in February. The "Golden Master" defeated Beltran's other fighter, Francisco Arce.
Arce, who boasts a fourth-round stoppage win over Nongqayi's stablemate, Hawk Makepula, is the elder brother of Francisco.