Ali gets third shot at IBF lightweight title

AMERICAN boxing promoters Gary Shaw and Cedrick Kushner did a sterling job in securing Ali Funeka two opportunities to fight for the IBF lightweight title.

AMERICAN boxing promoters Gary Shaw and Cedrick Kushner did a sterling job in securing Ali Funeka two opportunities to fight for the IBF lightweight title.

In fact, Shaw and the Cape Town- born Kushner have made sure that Funeka fights for that same title for the third time. This is because every time Funeka fights, there is controversy.

Funeka's local promoter, Mzimasi Mnguni, who groomed him from his third professional fight, introduced Funeka to Shaw and Kushner after cutting ties with Branco Milenkovic.

That was simple because Mnguni is not an IBF-licensed promoter. Milenkovic organised the IBF lightweight title eliminator, a fight Funeka won by a splendid fourth-round knockout of American Zahir Raheem on July 5 last year.

"They negotiated successfully with Don King for his boxer, IBF and WBA champ Nate Campbell, to defend against Ali on February 14," said Mnguni in acknowledgement.

Funeka lost that fight. Campbell forfeited both belts before their fight because he failed to make weight.

"Gary and Cedrick fought for Funeka to fight Joan Guzman for the vacant IBF title because there was drama before the Campbell fight."

To put it simple, Funeka was robbed against Guzman. The verdict was a draw and the belt remained vacant.

The IBF has sidelined Guzman because he is serving "medical suspension" and has instead appointed Funeka, again, and fifth-rated American Rolando Reyes to fight for it.

"This is all because of Cedrick and Shaw," added Mnguni. "Where have you heard one boxer being given three opportunities for the same title in one year?"

Mnguni also heaped praises to the hierarchy of the IBF's sanctioning committee for approving Funeka.

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