Fana finally to meet Alvarez

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Promoter Branco Milenkovic has finally announced that Mzonke Fana will defend his IBF junior lightweight title against Argentinian Javier Alvarez at James Motlatsi Hall in Klerkdorp on August 31.

Milenkovic and colleague Jacob Matlala have been dragging their heels in announcing Fana's opponent, a venue and date.

They say protracted negotiations over broadcast rights had caused the delay.

"Many believe we tried to cash in on the recent soccer rights debacle and play the various broadcasters up against one another, but good sense and loyalty, as well as a very reasonable offer from the national broadcaster, prevailed and SABC Sport secured the rights.

"At the end of the day, our principal focus shifted to reaching a larger local, continental and international audience, as opposed to the other networks," said Milenkovic.

"Fana has always been an SABC drawcard and despite his loss to Marco Barrera in 2005 they still threw their weight behind his second challenge against Malcolm Klassen."

Matlala said three provinces - Gauteng, Western Cape and North West - were seriously considered as the venue.

"Giving North West an opportunity like this is just another indication of our desire to take mega championship fights, that were before seen only at the casinos and television from abroad, to all the people of our country," said Matlala

Fana won the title from Malcolm Klassen on a split decision on April 20. Other fighters who are pencilled for the bill are Simphiwe Vetyeka, Anthony van Niekerk, Chris and Michael van Heerden, Mark Strydom and Vusumzi Tyatyeka.