BOXER Zolile Mbityi refuses to pay much attention to the writing on the wall .
It seemed it was over for 39-year-old "Bonecrusher", the cagey left-handed fighter from Mdantsane, when the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) relieved him of its junior bantamweight title last year for lack of action.
Instead of calling time on his career, Mbityi, the former SA junior flyweight, Cape provincial, SA and IBO flyweight titlist will challenge Themba Joyi for the national junior bantamweight strap on March 27.
This fight will be presented by promoter Mzimasi Mnguni under the umbrella of Eyethu Promotions at East London's Mdantsane Indoor Centre.
Mbityi's illustrious career spans 21 years. In his 43rd professional fight he won the SA junior bantamweight title from Simon Ramoni on September 1 2006. That was just a few months after Joyi had made a resounding professional debut on July 20 against Sixolile Matla.
Mbityi, the oldest professional boxer in the country, has 34 wins (11 KOs) against 13 losses and three draws.
He is rated No 1 in the local junior bantamweight division.
Joyi, who will bid for the second defence of the belt he won with a superb sixth-round stoppage of Thembelani Maphuma on November 21 2008, has only one defeat from 10 fights.
The champion from Mdantsane last fought on August 8 last year when he successfully defended against Miniyakhe Sityatha.
If fight records are anything to go by, then Mbityi will reclaim the belt he vacated after winning the IBO strap against Masibulele "Hawk" Makepula on May 31 2008.
Mbityi's massive experience enables him to subdue youngsters who would ordinarily be too fast and furious for a veteran his age.
Mbityi was impressive against Sithembile Kibiti over eight rounds on August 2 last year - thanks to trainer Mveleli Luzipho who hones his skills at Mnguni's Eyethu gym.
Luzipho, one of Mbityi's peers, is the former SA junior flyweight champion.
He retired in 1987.