Baloyi gets his shot at history

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

History is winking at Cassius Baloyi.

The 32-year-old fighter from Giyani will become the first boxer ever in South Africa to win five world titles if he beats Derrick Gainer for the vacant IBO junior lightweight title on February 3.

Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, "Hawk" Makepula, "Baby Jake" Matlala and Dingaan Thobela won three world titles each.

Baloyi, whose skills are honed by Nick Durandt in Gauteng, is the former WBU junior feather, feather, IBO and IBF junior lightweight titleholder.

Gainer, 34, is the former WBA and WBC Continental featherweight champion. He has 40 wins (24 KOs), seven losses and a draw.

The southpaw has been in the ring with celebrated fighters like Manuel Medina, Sergio Liendo, Diego Corrales, Freddie Norwood and Kevin Kelley. He surrendered his WBA belt to Chris John in April last year.

Durandt said his charge knew Gainer like the back of his hand.

"Cassius sparred with Derrick a few years back. We camped together and helped each other big time. Derrick is a tough customer.

"We must beat him to get back into contention for the IBF title, which is held by Malcolm Klassen. We have started preparing for the fight."

Baloyi last donned boxing gloves in July when he surrendered his IBF and IBO belts to Gairy St Clair.