Malinga will face Mercado

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Vus'Umuzi Malinga will no longer defend his WBC International bantamweight title against Ghanaian Sumaila Nadu on Friday night, as was reported last week.

The warrior from Ekurhuleni will now collide with Jerope Mercado of the Philippines. Their fight will be promoted by Branco Sports Productions at Nasrec Arena.

Promoter Branco Milenkovic said he received a letter earlier this week from the WBC in Ghana disputing the authenticity of some of the documentation their fighter had submitted to secure the fight.

WBC's Italy-based international president Mauro Betti moved swiftly and ordered Malinga to defend against Mercado, who has a single loss against 13 wins.

Milenkovic said his tournament had been placed in jeopardy.

"We have seen some great fights from Ghanaian boxers visiting our shores in past years, but I have to be frank, the latest developments could make it difficult for me to continue supporting African boxers in the future," he said.

It will be Malinga's second defence. The southpaw fighter, who is trained by his father Jabulani, outpointed Russian Andrey Kostin in March last year, taking his ring record to 18 wins (eight KOs) against two defeats.

Malinga does not care who is put in front of him. Defending his title is his priority so as to improve his rating with the WBC.