Tenge takes on Smith in historic IBF title fight

NONI "She Bee Stingin" Tenge will make history when she challenges New Zealand's Daniella Smith for the IBF welterweight title on South African soil in June, thanks to renowned promoter Branco "Big B" Milenkovic.

Tenge, from Eastern Cape, now belongs to internationally-acclaimed Branco Sports Production.

The developments yesterday should excite outspoken sports and recreation portfolio committee chairperson Butana Komphela who has constantly bemoaned the snail's pace of development in women's boxing in the country.

Milenkovic announced the fight and the signing of Tenge in an exclusive interview with Sowetan in Johannesburg yesterday.

He said Tenge's No 3 rating by the IBF qualified her to challenge the 38-year-old champion who will bid for a first defence.

Smith won the title on November 12 after beating Jennifer Retzke in Germany.

"I will break the bank to bring Daniella here in order for Noni to be comfortable fighting at home," Milenkovic said.

"This is the fight of her life and she is looking forward to it. I'm convinced that Tenge will be my No 5 IBF champion.

"We will announce the date and venue of the fight next week."

A beaming Tenge, whose dynamite punches have floored eight of her victims, said: "I've never heard Branco's voice before and I was ecstatic when he contacted me about signing me. I could not believe my ears when he also told me about a possibility of me fighting Smith for the world title."

The 28-year-old current WBF queen thanked Eastern Cape Amateur Boxing Organisation president Vuyolomzi Mtekwana for introducing her to Milenkovic.

Added Tenge: "We began communicating via SMSes and he invited me for a meeting in Johannesburg. We clicked from the onset and I'm happy to be part of his stable.

"I want to win the IBF (title) to thank him for having confidence in me. I also want to thank my trainers Lennox Mpulampula and Balekile Sam, promoter Koko Godlo and Boxing South Africa acting chief executive Loyiso Mtya for always being there for me."

Tenge cut her teeth in the professional ranks on August 10 2006 when she fought in the women's tournament that was staged by Mbali Zantsi in Durban.