milenkovic off on a joyi ride

INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed boxing promoter Branco Milenkovic described last Friday night's tournament at East London's International Convention Centre as an extraordinary night of boxing that will linger in his mind for a long time.

INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed boxing promoter Branco Milenkovic described last Friday night's tournament at East London's International Convention Centre as an extraordinary night of boxing that will linger in his mind for a long time.

Milenkovic has staged more than 300 tournaments in the past 12 years, but he was blown away by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) mini flyweight championship between Raul "Rayito" Garcia and Nkosinathi "Mabhere" Joyi.

Dedicated fight fans from East London filled the 2000-seat venue to capacity while about 700 others remained outside and cheered for Joyi.

The former SA and IBO undefeated champion reciprocated with a jaw-dropping performance in the bout staged by Milenkovic's Branco Sports Productions (BSP). If this Mdantsane idol was a number, he would be a perfect 10.

Joyi ended Garcia's reign with a well-deserved unanimous points win.

Local judges Isaac Tshabalala and Wally Snowball's scorecards read 119-109 while Alfredo Polanco from the US scored the fight 118-110.

Joyi's awesome fighting skills are honed by Lennox Mpulampula, Boxing SA's trainer of 2008.

Milenkovic said: "I am proud to say his fight was possibly the highlight of my career and that should rate in the top five of the 300 tournaments that I have staged in the past 12 years."

He said Joyi had emerged - alongside IBF flyweight holder Moruti Mthalane and IBF junior bantamweight champion Simphiwe Nongqayi - as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the country.

"I would like Joyi to make a voluntary defence and after that we will consider a unification with either WBC, WBO and WBA champions," Milenkovic said.

BSP has produced its fifth IBF world champion in the past 12 months. The others are Malcolm Klassen, Isaac Hlatshwayo, Nongqayi and Mthalane. But Klassen and Hlatshwayo have since been dethroned.

Cassius Baloyi and Mzonke Fana will vie for the vacant junior lightweight belt Klassen lost to Robert Guerrero in August last year.

Hlatshwayo lost the welterweight crown in December to Slovenian Jan Zaveck, who has teamed up with BSP.

l Michael Schultz shook off the cobwebs with a third-round stoppage of Goodman Dywili in a super middleweight bout on one of the undercards of the Joyi-Garcia fight.

X