baloyi eyes barrera

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Boxing publicist Terry Pettifer says International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight reigning king Cassius "The Hitman" Baloyi is ardently pursuing a mega-buck fight with Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera at Emperors Palace in February next year.

The 34-year-old Limpopo fighter, who is the only South African boxer currently holding a legitimate world title, is fresh from a stunning third- round knockout of Javier Oswaldo Alvarez.

It happened in front of about 2500 fans at Emperors Palace on September 5. That was his first defence of the belt he won from Mzonke "Rose of Khayelitsha" Fana in April. Baloyi's astounding skills are honed by esteemed mentor Nick Durandt.

Baloyi, the humble-mannered boxer from Giyani, is the only local fighter ever to win six world belts in three different weight divisions, while "Baby Assassin" Barrera, 34, is the four- time world champion in three different weight classes.

Pettifer announced yesterday that Baloyi may be presented with an opportunity of an unprecedented seventh world crown.

He revealed that Baloyi's backers are in negotiations with British promoter Frank Warren and his associate Dean Powell to get their charge, World Boxing Organisation (WBO) champion Nicky "Cookie" Cook, to unify with Baloyi.

"Frank and Dean are keen to have Nicky to fight Cassius either in Britain or South Africa," said Pettifer.

Yet, while Baloyi could benefit enormously financially from that unification, says Pettifer, it is an ascertained fact that Baloyi's promoter still has four-time world champion Barrera as their prime target.

"The fight with Barrera is what we're concentrating on first and foremost, but if Cassius and his trainer agree, there could be a highly lucrative 'pit-stop' along the way, and that means a unification bout with Cook."

Meanwhile, Welcome Ntshingila's reign as the WBA Pan African junior middleweight holder ended in Australia on Saturday.

He was outpointed by Daniel Dawson with a unanimous points decision. Scores were 118-110, 116-112 and 17-111. There were no knockdowns. Ntshingila suffered his seventh defeat against 15 wins and three draws.