Joyi vows to keep title

WITH Japanese boxer Katsunari Takayama set to land in South Africa yesterday, champion Nkosinathi Joyi is confident that he will retain his title.

Joyi is putting his International Boxing Federation mini flyweight world title on the line against Takayama at the Orient Theatre in East London on Friday night.

It will be the second time Joyi faces Takayama after their first clash in January last year was declared a no-contest in the wake of an accidental clash of heads in Brakpan.

The Mdantsane-born boxer has completed his training under the watchful eye of renowned trainer Lennox Mpulampula, and stays fit at a gym.

Joyi said: "I know what to expect from Katsunari and won't underestimate him at all. I'm ready to offer him a free boxing lesson that he will never forget.

"This is my first fight at home since winning the world title in 2009, so I would like to promise the people of Eastern Cape and the country that I won't disappoint them.

"The title will remain here. People in East London have been asking me to come and fight at home - it's finally happening on Friday and I'm so happy."

Mpulampula said: "We've completed our homework in terms of preparing for the Japanese and are ready for the big fight. This is home and we've no choice but to win. The good thing is that we know what to expect after the January fight in Brakpan between the two boxers was declared a no-contest.

"It's going to be an exciting battle. Joyi will be more cautious so there will be no head-butting this time round," the trainer said.

Joyi is unbeaten in 21 fights, with 15 of his wins by KOs. The Japanese challenger has won 24 of his 28 fights, with 10 KOs.

Branco Boxing Promotions boss Branco Milenkovic said Takayama would land in Kempton Park and get a connecting flight to East London. "We expect a full house because the fight has generated massive interest in East London," he said.

As a bonus to fight fans, Milenkovic has announced that tickets will cost only R50 a person.