The provincial title has proved to be a hollow one for Marcel Japhta so he has decided to vacate the Gauteng featherweight belt.
"Lights Out" as this good-looking fighter from Westbury, a titleholder in the Baby Champs edition of 2007, won the provincial belt on February 29 against Edward Mpofu after 10 bloody rounds at Finetown Community Centre in Grasmere, near Lenasia.
Japhta's mentor Benny Pailman, who doubles as a manager, announced yesterday that he and assistant trainers Peter Faver and Cliff Martins want better things for their charge in future.
"He was challenged by a boxer who is rated number nine but we turned that fight down simply because the money was not good," said Pailman.
"I am satisfied that Marcel went through the appropriate route by first being the provincial champion. That was the way to go years back.
"Marcel has convinced even the doubting Thomases that he is indeed championship material. People around his [neighbour]hood have shown their confidence in him by always coming in big numbers whenever he fights, and as his trainer-manager, I appreciate their support."
Pailman is assisted by Peter Faver and Cliff Martins at their Westside Boxing Academy that is a stone's throw away from Japhta's home.
These three musketeers hone the skills of good boxers such as last year's middleweight champion in the Baby Champs, Nkululeko "The Bulldog" Mhlongo and top rated Sipho "Tsunami" Taliwe.
"We are now working our way up to getting a crack at the national belt," revealed Pailman about his 25-year-old charge who is rated second in the national rankings.
The title is held by Ludumo Galada who tainted Japhta's image in the finals of the Baby Champs in 2006. Japhta has nine wins, seven by way of knockout, and one loss.