Miyata makes history

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

History will be made in local professional boxing when Japan's Yoshinori Miyata steps into the ring with Jeffrey Mathebula at the Carousel casino in Hammanskraal on February 22.

Miyata will be the first fighter from Japan to appear in a local boxing ring.

The Tokyo-based fighter will challenge Mathebula for the World Boxing Council (WBC) International featherweight title.

The "Mongoose", as Mathebula is nicknamed, will bid for a third defence.

He stopped Themba Tshicila in 11 rounds in his last appearance in the ring on June 26 last year.

Mathebula's fight with Miyata will be staged by multiple award winning promoters Branco Milenkovic and Jacob Matlala of the Branco Sports Productions (BSP) consortium.

The bout will be televised live on Blow by Blow at 10pm. Milenkovic and Matlala have since called it the "Perfect Match" because of the two boxers' virtually identical ring records.

They boast 11 short-route wins on their CVs with Miyata marginally more experienced with 22 wins, five defeats and a draw, against Mathebula's 20 wins, one loss and two draws.

Mathebula is rated 11th by the WBC and ninth by the IBF.

Milenkovic said: "Jake and I are very proud to be the first to lure a credible Japanese fighter to this country.

"It has never previously been within the financial capabilities of any South African promoter to bring a Japanese fighter here.

"We have moved heaven and earth to pull this off. It is no secret that Japanese fighters are reluctant to venture out of their own country."

Meanwhile, Mathebula's stablemates Chris van Heerden, a nominee for the BSA's Prospect of the Year award; Jacques Stapelberg; as well as the unbeaten Lesley Sekotswe from Botswana have been included in other undercards against opponents yet to be confirmed.