off canvas to victory

NUMBER 1: Takalani
NUMBER 1: Takalani "The Panther" Ndlovu on his way to victory over Kiko Martinez of Spain in their IBF World Junior Featherweight title at the Wembley Arena, Jozi. . Pic: BAFANA MAHLANGU. 26/09/2009. © Sowetan.

THE IBF will this week confirm in writing to promoter Branco Milenkovic that Takalani Ndlovu is indeed the number one contender for its junior featherweight title.

THE IBF will this week confirm in writing to promoter Branco Milenkovic that Takalani Ndlovu is indeed the number one contender for its junior featherweight title.

Ndlovu won the right last Friday night after outpointing Spaniard Kiko Martinez over 12 fiercely contested but cleanly fought rounds.

Local judges Isaac Tshabalala and Deon Dwarte scored it 116-112 and 115-113, respectively, while Manuel Oliver Palomo from Spain voted it 117-111 for Ndlovu.

The IBF junior featherweight belt is currently held by Celestino Caballero, the Panaman who boasts a points win over Jeffrey "The Mongoose" Mathebula.

"I'm aware that Caballero wants to make a defence on January 23," said Milenkovic yesterday. "However that will not spoil the plan for Ndlovu."

Ndlovu, ushered to battle by trainer and father Stanley Ndlovu, and younger brother Nyambeni, made an resounding introduction under Milenkovic.

Takalani, also fighting for the first time under his father, looked a million dollar, but he kissed the canvas in the first round to get started.

"The Panther" swivelled beautifully with the precision of the real jungle cat when he circled his shorter opponent whose paraffin like steam lasted for eight rounds.

But he caught Ndlovu with a swinging left in the eleventh round and that was like a red rag to the bull.

Ndlovu fought back like a man possessed much to the excitement of the 3000 fans.

The larger part of that crowd came to see their idol Michael Schultz making a come back after a 10 year break. He reciprocated with a second round knock out of Oupa Mahlangu.

Meanwhile Vus' Umuzi Malinga won the WBO Africa bantamweight vacant belt after stopping Fadhili Majia of Tanzania in the third round.

In the preliminary bout, conditioning was the key for Warren Joubert to give that extra which enabled him to win his closely contested six rounder with Sifiso Msibi.

Milenkovic staged the fights at Wembley Arena, south of Jozi.

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