Fuzile fired up to extend IBF junior-light legacy

SA had string of excellent champs for the title in the past

Azinga "Golden Boy" Fuzile and Shavkhatdzhon Rakhimov exchange leather in their IBF junior lightweight elimination fight which Rakhimov won by a TKO in the eighth round on Sunday.
Azinga "Golden Boy" Fuzile and Shavkhatdzhon Rakhimov exchange leather in their IBF junior lightweight elimination fight which Rakhimov won by a TKO in the eighth round on Sunday.
Image: Nick Lourens

SA’s rich history with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior-lightweight boxing title should stimulate Azinga Fuzile in his quest to winning the world title that is written SA all over it.

Fuzile is rated at No 2 by the IBF in the junior-lightweight division. He will oppose Kenichi Ogawa for that organisation’s vacant title in that weight division. Ogawa from Japan occupies the No 3 spot. Their fight will take place at Madison Square Gardens in New York on November 27.

The 25-year-old left-handed Fuzile from Duncan Village fought his way to the title contention by defeating Martin Ward in their elimination fight in Las Vega on May 29. His foe, Ogawa, has held the aforementioned title before.

He won it from Tevin Farmer in 2017. But Kenichi lost it in the boardrooms after failing a doping test for synthetic testosterone. The Nevada Athletic Commission changed his split points win to a no-contest. That is how the IBF junior-lightweight title remained vacant.

Fuzile will be vying for the belt that rotated around South Africans for three years until Robert Guerrero took it back to the US where Brian Mitchell won it from Tony Lopez in Sacramento in 1991.

Mitchell retired after that fight and became a boxing manager. His charge, IBO holder Cassius “Shy Guy” Baloyi, trained by Nick Durandt, brought it back here after stopping Manuel Medina in the 11th round in the US in May 2006. Baloyi’s IBO strap was on line and at that time the IBF belt was vacant.

Two months later, Baloyi lost both belts to Gary St Clair who was in turn dethroned by Malcolm Klassen in November. 

Klassen lost it to Mzonke Fana in 2007. But Fana’s reign was short-lived, Baloyi regained it in 2008. Baloyi surrendered it to Klassen in 2008. Promoter Branco Milenkovic organised those matches.

Klassen was then dethroned by Guerrero in the US in 2009. The American vacated it and moved to the lightweight division.

Fuzile’s fight will be the main supporting contest for the IBF, WBA Super and WBO lightweight championship between holder Tefimo Lopez and George Kambosos Junior. The tournament will be staged by Matchroom Sport of promoter Eddie Hearn.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.