Buthelezi desperate for win to thank Saliwa

Linda helped champ restore IBO belt

Gideon Buthelezi throws a punch at Mexican boxer Adrian Jimenez in their IBO-junior-bantamweight bout held in East London in July 2019.
Gideon Buthelezi throws a punch at Mexican boxer Adrian Jimenez in their IBO-junior-bantamweight bout held in East London in July 2019.
Image: Nick Lourens

Gideon Buthelezi must reciprocate with nothing but victory when he defends his IBO junior bantamweight boxing belt at the International Convention Centre in East London, Eastern Cape, on November 28.

That will be the perfect quality of being thankful to promoter Linda Saliwa – the greenhorn in the promotion of boxing – who saved his title from being vacated by the IBO.

This Florida, US-based sanctioning body had already alerted Buthelezi about its decision to end his reign. That move was informed by the champion’s long period of inactivity. 

Saliwa was supposed to have staged Buthelezi’s defence – his sixth – against Sabelo Ngebinyane in his maiden tourney in October. It was after that failure by the left-handed champion to defend that he was stripped of the title he has held since 2015.

Saliwa then engaged the hierarchy of the IBO with a plea to restore Buthelezi as its junior bantamweight holder. Saliwa of Xaba Boxing Academy explained: “Our deadline with the IBO regarding Buthelezi’s belt was with last tournament in October – hence they gave Gideon the letter which talks about the title being vacated. But we spoke to the IBO and made a plea; they understood and restored him as the champion.”

Buthelezi will defend against Manyo Plange, whose name does not appear in the top 100 list of the IBO ratings in the junior bantamweight division. But that is a non issue because all sanctioning bodies do as they please with their titles.

Initially, Buthelezi was promoted by Xaba Promotion of Ayanda Matiti. But Saliwa explained that most fighters under Xaba Promotion are and will always be part of his tournaments.

“We have given some of them opportunities to defend their titles and also give others opportunities just to fight because it has been difficult for boxers since the Covid-19 situation,” he said.

They are IBO junior flyweight champ Ayanda Ndulani, that weight’s domestic titlist Sphamandla Baleni, top-rated junior lightweight Aphiwe Mboyiya, Athenkosi Platjies and Landi Ngxeke.

Ndulani will defend against Baleni, Mboyiya will fight Bongani Mbiko just to maintain his No 1 ratings, while Platjies will meet Odwa Gaxa in what promises to be war because they have history in the amateur ranks. Ngxeke will take on Bongani Nocele in another non-title fight.

Saliwa said his second event will be broadcast live by SuperSport from 2pm.

Entrance fee is R100.

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