Quartey will return to the ring in Mzansi

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Ghanaian boxing legend Ike "Bazooka" Quartey will launch his comeback in South Africa on December 5.

This was confirmed by promoter Branco Milenkovic, who will stage the WBC junior bantamweight title eliminator between Evans Mbamba and Devid Lookmahanak of Thailand on that day.

"Ike's promoter Lou DiBella and myself are working round the clock to get an opponent. Getting this one-time top pound-for-pound fighter to fight here is a milestone," Milenkovic said.

"It supersedes all the great international tournaments that I did in the past two years. This is a perfect way of introducing an African renaissance in boxing."

Quartey, 39, last fought in December 2006 when he lost a lopsided points decision to Winky Wright. He and countryman Azumah Nelson are two of the most recognised prize fighters on the continent.

Quartey, who is based in the US, is a former WBA welterweight champion. Some of his epic battles include defeats by Oscar de la Hoya and Fernando Vargas.

Other celebrated fighters who have graced these shores include John Tate, Mike Weaver, Greg Page, Roberto Duran, Wright, Lennox Lewis as well as Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali.

This is a vote of confidence in South Africa, which made its mark in world boxing through Gerrie Coetzee, Thulani Malinga, Brian Mitchell, Dingaan Thobela, Welcome Ncita, Vuyani Bungu and Jacob Matlala, among others.

Cassius Baloyi is the only current boxer who holds a credible belt. He is the IBF junior lightweight champion.