where to, mathebula?

Jeffrey Mathebula's promoters are yet to decide if they will lodge an official appeal with the IBF regarding the fighter's controversial defeat by Panamanian Celestino Caballero at Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City recently.

Jeffrey Mathebula's promoters are yet to decide if they will lodge an official appeal with the IBF regarding the fighter's controversial defeat by Panamanian Celestino Caballero at Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City recently.

Mathebula was declared the loser by split decision in a verdict that was roundly slammed by the international and Panamanian media.

One newspaper in Panama cried "Robbery" in its headline and went on to describe how Mathebula dominated the bout and even scored a knockdown that was called a slip by referee Ernie Sharif.

Sharif will be remembered by South Africans as the man who refereed Ali Funeka's IBF lightweight title eliminator against American Zahir Raheem in East London in July last year.

Despite the denied knockdown, Mathebula was still expected to be given the verdict.

The fighter's promoter, Branco Milenkovic, who was not at ringside, said his camp would view the fight on tape before deciding on whether or not to file an official complaint with the IBF.

"We are waiting for the tape and as soon as we get it we will decide on the next plan of action," he said.

Milenkovic said even if they do not lodge a complaint with the IBF, Mathebula would probably challenge for the world title in his next bout.

But the prospect of a rematch against Caballero was ruled out as the fight was mandatory for the Panamanian, whose WBA crown was also at stake.

"Due to the fact that they were fighting for two world titles it will be difficult to enforce a rematch," Milenkovic said.

Going in to the fight Mathebula was considered the underdog against the freakishly tall Panamanian.

And for the first four rounds, the South African appeared headed for a beating until he asserted himself and took over the bout as Caballero reportedly tired out.

Milenkovic admitted that Mathebula's performance took him by surprise as he had not given his fighter a chance against Caballero.

"I must admit, Mathebula was never very high on my priorities, but that is set to change after what he did against a world-class fighter like Caballero," he said.

The fact that Mathebula acquitted himself well against one of the best champions in the junior featherweight division has suddenly opened doors for him.

And Milenkovic, who has ties with some of the top promoters in the world, said he would ensure Mathebula remains in the world spotlight and earns another world title crack soon. - Sapa

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