Malinga stripped of Zulu garb
SOUTH African boxer Vusi Malinga is an angry man after American customs officials stripped him of his traditional Zulu hat, fighting gown and bracelet, which is known as isiphandla.
Isiphandla is a bracelet made out of goat skin and is deemed to have protective qualities.
The gown, hat and isiphandla were all confiscated soon after Malinga and his entourage landed at the airport in Los Angeles ahead of Saturday's fight against Mexican Leo Santa Cruz.
This is the biggest fight for the Ekurhuleni-based Malinga, who is hoping to win his first world title in the fight for the vacant IBF bantamweight belt against Cruz, who is unbeaten in 19 fights.
Malinga, who is of Zulu royal blood, is accompanied by his trainer and father Jabu and two brothers - Patrick, a former South African lightweight champion and Peter, a former IBO and WBU welterweight champion.
The promising fighter was detained for four hours at the Los Angeles customs office when officials instructed him to leave his Zulu traditional regalia behind or return to Johannesburg.
"I'm hurt after my fighting gear and isiphandla were taken away from me, but I will show them I'm the best boxer by winning the title on Saturday," Malinga said.
Promoter Branco Milenkovic said that "for Vusi to be forced to fight without his traditional gear may affect him".