Baloyi will test Buhlalu

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

If Amon Baloyi (no relation to Cassius) can win the SA lightweight belt from Irvin Buhlalu it will confirm the grossly underrated challenger's arrival after years of being ignored.

Buhlalu, who was born in Durban, has ruled the division with an iron fist for three years, defending the title five times to claim the Old Buck belt.

But the sudden emergence of Baloyi, who has been around for five years without being noticed by the pundits, presents a real threat to his rule.

Baloyi, from Limpopo, fought his first professional fight in Tshwane on May 29 2004 when he stopped Jonas Tapala in the second round.

He holds the Gauteng provincial lightweight title he won on March 16 when he stopped Luyanda Jako in the seventh round at Park Station.

By rights Baloyi should be the Limpopo champion but that is immaterial. The focus for the fighter, whose skills are now fine-tuned in Gauteng by Collin Nathan, is to grab the opportunity to fight for the national belt with both hands - because it may be the last, especially if he fails to end Buhlalu's reign.

It is possible that Baloyi has the tools.

Changing trainers from Manny Fernandez to Paul Chabalala and James Maluleka could have delayed his revelation .

But he faces a tough challenge in the Chesterville-based champion, whose craftiness is perfected in East London by Dudu Bungu at the famous Eyethu Boxing Gym of accomplished manager Mzimase Mnguni.

Buhlalu's last defence was in September last year against Benedict Dlamini.

The fight and five others will be staged at the Orient Theatre by Gauteng promoter Pat Molefe on May 4.