BSP carries SA boxing

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The year 2009 is here and if it is anything like 2008, Branco Sports Production looks set for another extremely busy year.

It is disappointing that the future of South African boxing is linked to that of an individual promotions house.

There are about 50 licensed promoters here, mainly black owned, but only a handful of them are doing justice to the sport.

Golden Gloves, Eyethu, Rainbow, Robs, Showtime and Peoples Promotions all deserve praise but it is promoters Branco Milenkovic and Jacob Matlala, the owners of BSP, who are undoubtedly the busiest internationally and locally.

They staged 10 tournaments around the country last year. Two were national title fights, seven were IBF and two were WBC title eliminators.

That includes the world IBF championship fight between newly crowned Cassius Baloyi and Mzonke Fana.

Milenkovic and Matlala's hard work could be crowned this year by producing more world champions. Baloyi is the only champion of a world recognized boxing body in their stable.

It all begins next month when Ali Funeka, who won the IBF's number one spot under BSP, will challenge IBF and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell in the US on February 14.

Vus'Umuzi Malinga will challenge WBC bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan while Isaac Hlatswayo will take on IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey.

Jeffrey Mathebula will challenge Celestino Caballero for the IBF junior featherweight strap.

The Malinga-Hasegawa fight and the one between Mathebula and Caballero will take place in March while Baloyi's defence of the IBF junior lightweight strap against Malcolm Klassen will take place here before the end of March. Hlatswayo could challenge Clottey before June.

Milenkovic and Matlala will travel to Mexico on February 28 when Simphiwe Nongqayi attempts to win the IBF junior bantamweight division's number one spot against Franciso Arce.

Milenkovic said Silence Mabuza could face Wonny Perez for the IBF bantamweight division's mandatory position.