Stardom beckons

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The sensational Nkosinathi Joyi, a knockout specialist in the strawweight division - the smallest weight class in boxing at 47,63kg - is a step away from stardom.

That journey begins in June.

The left-handed fighter, a potential world beater from the Eastern Cape, who is affectionately called "Mabere", has been pencilled in to defend the IBO belt against Sammy "Guty" Gutierrez.

SABC Sport will televise it live on Blow by Blow. The fight will be staged at East London's Orient Theatre. It will be promoted by the Mamali Boxing Promotions of S'Phatho Handi.

Coincidentally, the bespectacled Handi, a former board member of Boxing SA, manages the fruitful career of Joyi.

Handi, the general secretary of the ANC in the Eastern Cape, also owns the growing Enothole Boxing Club in Mdantsane where Joyi's talent is honed by veteran mentor Boyboy Mpulampula.

Joyi, undefeated after 17 wins (13 KOs), will also be out to impress the hierarchy of the WBO, which has approved him to fight its champion Donnie Nietes, in a unification bout in November.

Joyi is rated sixth while Gutierrez, 20 wins (11 KPs), two defeats and two draws, is ranked third.

"The deal is signed and sealed," confirmed Handi, who added that Samora Msopi would challenge Mfundo Gwayana for the SA junior flyweight belt in the main undercard.

Joyi left fans in Port Elizabeth bewildered with his clinical first round knockout over Gabriel Pumar at the Great Centenary Hall on November 16 last year. That was his first defence.

Before winning the IBO belt against Arman dela Cruz (KO 2) on November 4 in 2006, Joyi, reigned supreme as the local champion for three years with six defenses that warranted the ownership of the belt.

Gutierrez, 22, is the longest reigning Mexican mini mum weight king.