Second shot for Ndlovu

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Takalani Ndlovu intends to grab the opportunity of a second lifeline with both hands.

The former IBO junior featherweight champion known as "The Panther" will stalk Fernando Beltran Junior for the vacant IBO featherweight belt.

Promoter Rodney Berman announced that Ndlovu will oppose the Mexican for the belt that was relinquished by Cristobal "Lacandon" Cruz.

This Indian-Mexican won it on March 7 from Thomas "Merciless" Mashaba at Foxwoods casino resort in Nantucket, US.

Berman announced that Cruz had vacated the title to fight for the vacant IBF belt before the end of this month.

Berman, who promotes Ndlovu, Cruz and Mashaba, added that Ndlovu's fight with "Pinocho", a former WBC Continental Americas champion, will be staged by his American associate Art Pellulo at Sommet Centre, Nashville Tennessee in the US on August 22.

Beltran, who turns 27 four days before his fight with Ndlovu, is a southpaw fighter. Beltran stopped Jose Arboleda in the 10th round last December for the IBF title eliminator.

But Steve "Canadian Kid" Molitor outpointed Beltran for the IBF belt over 12 one-sided rounds on April 5. That was Beltran's third defeat against 30 wins (18 KOs) and a draw.

Ndlovu, 30, who was stopped in nine rounds by Molitor last July, has 28 victories (18 KOs) against four losses and a draw. Ndlovu bounced back strongly in February by blasting Raymond Sermona in four rounds.

That was Ndlovu's first fight under new trainer Nick Durandt, since dumping his father Stanley Ndlovu on their return from their failed coup in Canada.

That defeat did not impact negatively on Ndlovu's standing with the IBF. It still rates him highly, in its fourth spot. Julio Zarate is rated third while both the number two and one spots are vacant.

Ndlovu will die peacefully if he gets to satisfy himself by either defeating Molitor or losing fairly.

In the meantime, he wants to annex the vacant IBO belt.

"I am grateful for this opportunity. Victory will enable me to send a message to the IBF that I am ready to mix it again with Molitor," he said in his parting shot.