ndlovu stalks beltran

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Takalani "The Panther" Ndlovu is an underdog going to war against Fernando Beltran Junior for the International Boxing Organisation featherweight crown tomorrow in the US.

That is the belief of foreign analysts, says Golden Gloves publicist Terry Pettifer.

He would not say if that is based on the fact that Beltran went the full 12 rounds with International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior featherweight champion Steve Molitor in February, while Ndlovu succumbed in nine rounds last July.

But Ndlovu's new mentor Nick Durandt, who replaced the boxer's trainer and father Stanley Ndlovu, just after his son's defeat by Molitor, is not perturbed by the underdog status.

"I prefer it to be that way. Come fight time, Takalani will pulverise Beltran," said Durandt.

But promoter Rodney Berman was more cautious.

"Beltran should not and cannot be underestimated," he warned.

"I know that Nick has predicted a stoppage win for his boxer, but believe me this Mexican is one helluva tough hombre and victory won't come easy.

"In fact, if Takalani does win, and I'm saying he should, providing of course he boxes as well as we all know he can, I predict that he'll do so after a blistering battle of attrition that could provide both fighters with a wealth of bumps and contusions."

Ndlovu won the IBO belt in 2005 against tough-as-nails Armando Guerrero, defended it in a scintillating three-round stoppage win over Fabio Daniel Oliva, beat Giovanni Andrade with a second-round stoppage, and registered a points win over Ricardo Castillo.

That victory earned Ndlovu the right to challenge Molitor who stopped him in nine rounds last July.

Ndlovu forfeited the IBO belt, left his father and joined Durandt who guided him to a fourth-round stoppage win over Raymond Sermona in February.