bring belt home, fana

THE IBF junior lightweight title that Robert Guerrero won from Malcolm "The Stone" Klassen on Sunday morning has become more like a South African title.

Brian Mitchell was the first to win it in 1991 from Tony Lopez in Sacramento.

Cassius "Hitman" Baloyi won it on May 31 2006 against Manuel Medina but lost it two months later to Gary St Clair who was in turn dethroned by Klassen four months later. Klassen was unseated by Mzonke Fana on April 20 2007, and he was ousted by Baloyi on April 12 last year.

Baloyi lost the belt to Klassen on April 18 this year and Klassen's reign ended on Sunday morning.

Guerrero will defend against Fana "The Rose of Khayelitsha", who won the number one spot and the right to challenge last month after defeating Jasper Seroka in six rounds of an IBF title eliminator that was scheduled for 12.

Klassen, Baloyi and Fana all fight under promoter Branco Milenkovic who said it would not be difficult for him to do the Guerrero-Fana clash because of his relationship with De la Hoya who promotes Guerrero.

Said Klassen from London yesterday: "No excuses. He outsmarted me. I thought of calling it quits but I am still young at 28. I just need a break, to be with my family."

His trainer, Nick Durandt, said Guerrero looked a totally different fighter.

Milenkovic, who co-promoted the fight with De la Hoya in Houston, Texas, said: "Let us wait and see what will be his (Klassen's) new rating. He needs one or two international fights and I will look at the gap to get him a shot at the title again.

"However, let's not forget that Cassius is also in the mix. But I don't see a rematch between Malcolm and Baloyi soon. The fight everybody was hoping to see again was Klassen-Fana II."