Overweight Joyi surrenders IBO title without a fight

Challenger Ndulani can still take title with a win

Nkosinathi "Mabhere"Joyi. File photo.
Nkosinathi "Mabhere"Joyi. File photo.
Image: Bafana Mahlangu

Nkosinathi “Mabere” Joyi's failure to make the weight limit to a world title defense tonight is an embarrassment to the sport of boxing, say Boxing SA Eastern Cape provincial manager Phakamile Jacobs.

The 37-year-old veteran - who has previously held the SA, IBO and IBF straw-weight belts - has lost the IBO  belt on the scales. He failed to make the required weight limit during the official weigh-in yesterday for his title defence against Ayanda “Fireblows” Ndulani. Joyi tipped the scale at 48.10kg while the limit is 47.63kg. The challenger was within the required weight limit.

The fight, at East London’s ICC Hall tonight, will still go ahead but only Ndulani can win the title.

Jacobs applied IBO rules to the letter by giving the defending champion two hours to shed the extra kilos. But it turned out to be a waste of time because Joyi remained overweight. 

"The implication is that Joyi either doesn't take his craft seriously or he's ill disciplined. It is disappointing that a fighter of Joyi's stature loses a world title on the scale. It would have been better for him to lose the title inside the ring," Jacobs said.

"He may win the fight tomorrow [tonight] but the stigma will be with him for a very long time."

Joyi will forfeit part of his purse money, which will go to Ndulani, because he will go into the fight enjoying an unfair weight advantage.

Joyi won the IBO title in 2019, having been an outcast after he had meekly surrendered the IBF belt to Mario Rodriguez in 2012.

No-one wanted anything to do with him until promoter Ayanda Matiti brought him back. But Joyi has shamed Matiti by failing to make the weight, especially during trying times where there are no fights due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Said Jacobs: “IBO rules regarding this situation are clear. In a title fight contest, if the champion did not make the weight even after two hours given to reduce extra weight, the fight goes ahead as a championship fight. In a case where the former champion wins that fight the title becomes vacant. In a case [where] the challenger wins he will be crowned the new champion. We read it  in front of Joyi so that he knows that he has already lost the title by failing to make the weight. We did the same to Ndulani and they both understood.”

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