Fate smiles on Baloyi

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Cassius "Hitman" Baloyi is back in the international boxing limelight, and could reclaim the IBF junior lightweight title if he stays on course.

As expected, Baloyi will defend his IBO belt against Manuel "Mantecas" Medina, another former five-time world champion, at Emperors Palace on July 5.

But breaking news from promoter Rodney Berman is that the winner between these two living legends, who will be meeting for the second time in their illustrious careers, will also be awarded the IBF's number one spot.

That means the victor will challenge the winner between champion Mzonke "The Rose of Khayelitsha" Fana and an as yet unconfirmed challenger. Fana's voluntary title defence will take place in Khayelitsha in August.

Baloyi's promoter Berman assured the media during his announcement of Baloyi-Medina part two that the encounter had been approved as the "official" IBF world title eliminator.

Baloyi, 31, with 32 wins, 17 by knockout, and three losses, stopped the 36-year-old battle- scarred Mexican in the eleventh round to win the IBF title in the US on May 31 last year. Medina has 67 wins (31 knockouts) and 14 defeats.

Baloyi's reign ended after just two months when he was unseated by Guyanese-born Australian Gairy St Clair. The latter was, in turn, dethroned in his first defence by Malcolm Klassen on November 4 last year. That merry-go-round continued as Klassen lost the belt to Fana in Cape Town on April 20 this year.