Cafu has his sights firmly set on IBF title

Pugilist steadily climbing up the rankings

22 February 2024 - 09:40
By Bongani Magasela
Phumelela ‘The Truth’ Cafu lands a left hook on Ben Mananquil of the Philippines.
Image: ALAN EASON Phumelela ‘The Truth’ Cafu lands a left hook on Ben Mananquil of the Philippines.

SA could have a second International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion soon.

Phumelela “The Truth” Cafu is at the doorstep of challenging for that organisation’s junior bantamweight belt.

Cafu from Duncan Village is now No 4 in the IBF’s junior bantamweight ratings, a spot below Willibaldo Garcia Perez from Mexico.

The junior bantamweight title for that New Jersey-based sanctioning body is currently held by Fernando “Puma” Martinez.

The Argentinian won that belt on February 26 2022 when he defeated Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Arcajs from the Philippines.

The champion defended it successfully on October 22 with a points decision against Arcajas in what was their second fight.

The champion is now enjoying the right to pick and choose his next opponent in the top 10 ratings. The No 1 and No 2 spots are vacant.

The IBF Championship Committee could order Cafu and Perez to face each in what will be an eliminator for the No 1 position.

Cafu, 20, currently holds the IBF International and the South African junior bantamweight titles. He is undefeated after 10 fights. Several attempts to get a comment from him yesterday were unsuccessful. 

The South African boxer who holds an IBF belt right now is Cafu's home boy, Sivenathi “The Special One” Nontshinga. 

Nontshinga won it back on Saturday last weekend from Mexican Adrian Curiel.

Cafu’s promoter Ayanda Matiti said: “I am negotiating that whoever wins between Martinez and his opponent that he will face either on March or April must give Cafu a chance around September. Cafu has an international fight in April which will improve his ratings in all the four sanctioning boxing bodies that have recognised his abilities with top ratings.”

Cafu is rated No 6 by the WBA, ninth by the WBC and 12th by WBO.

“We are also engaging the WBO; the belt in the junior bantamweight is vacant and it is going to be fought for very soon, so I am negotiating that Cafu be considered by the boxer who will be crowned the champion,” said Matiti.

“Out of Cafu, Landile Ngxeke and Mpumelelo Tshabalala, we [Xaba Promotions] should have at least two world champions this year. We hope that everything in local boxing would have returned o normality by April so that we stage our tournament, which will feature Ngxeke and Tshabalala.”