time to collect

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Silence Mabuza belongs in the big three: the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Association (WBA).

But only the IBF recognises him, placing him third in the bantamweight ratings.

Mabuza is the best thing South Africa has to offer the world of pugilism currently. He has beaten a sturdy crop of fighters, including Ricardo Vargas, Cruz Carbajal, Eric Barcelona and most recently Damien Marchiano for the lesser recognised International Boxing Organisation (IBO) bantamweight belt.

Mabuza turned professional in 1999, and made an impression in 2002 by winning his first IBO belt. He defended it six times but forfeited it in 2005 after his fourth-round stoppage by Rafael Marquez for the IBF belt.

Mabuza won the IBO belt back last year through a fifth-round stoppage of Mbwana Matumla. His first defence against Eden Sonsona lasted eight rounds, after Sonsona quit.

Then last Saturday night at Emperors Palace, Mabuza, who has an incisive array of punches, sent Argentinian Damien Marchiano back home early in the fifth round.

Mabuza, 30, a married father of three from Tsakane in Ekurhuleni, must begin to make serious money. He is a step away from fighting for the IBF belt again. But that title is now held by Ghanaian Joseph Agbeko.

Mabuza will have to fight an elimination bout, win it and face Agbeko.

But Nick Durandt will not allow Mabuza to engage in an elimination fight.

"Never will that bull***t happen again to my fighters, especially Silence. It's like you fight for the title two times," he said.

He cited the example of Cassius Baloyi, who fought Manuel Medina in an eliminator for the IBF junior lightweight title.

After that bout was stopped due to cuts, with "Cassius winning", Baloyi was told to fight Gary St Clair for the elimination.

"That is crazy. Mabuza will continue making a few rands by defending the IBO belt," he said.