Professional boxing history will be made in South Africa on 22 February when Japan’s Yoshinori Miyata steps into the Carousel Casino ring.
Tokyo-based Miyata has signed on the dotted line to challenge South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula for his WBC International featherweight title.
Courtesy of none other than multiple award-winning promoters Branco Sports Productions (BSP), it will be the very first time that a Japanese fighter appears in this country to challenge for a legitimate international title.
After extensive negotiations with their associates in Japan, BSP partners Branco Milenkovic and Baby Jake Matlala are understandably delighted with this massive coup for SA boxing.
“ Jake and I are very proud to be the first to lure a credible Japanese fighter to this country, “ said Branco.
Highlighting the magnitude of this latest accomplishment by BSP, Branco added: “ It has never previously been within the financial capabilities of any South African promoter and we have moved heaven and earth to pull this off.”
It is also no secret in world boxing that Japanese fighters are very reluctant to venture out of their own country to fight, let alone the Asian bloc.
The tournament, to be screened live on SABC Sport, has appropriately been slugged “Perfect Match” due to the two boxers’ virtually identical ring records.
Both boxers boast 11 stoppages on their current resume, with Miyata marginally more experienced with 22 wins, 5 losses and a draw against Mathebula’s 20 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws.
Boxing’s profits of doom are already pointing an accusing finger at BSP for over-matching Mathebula (WBC # 11 and IBF # 9) against the tough Miyata.
Former four-time world champion and co-promoter Baby Jake Matlala immediately dismissed any such notion. “ We will get nowhere if we wrap our top fighters in cotton wool, “ said Matlala.
“ Jeffrey has made it clear to us that he is determined to challenge for a legitimate world title before the end of the year and should, therefore, be able to deal with an opponent of Miyata’s caliber” added Baby Jake.
Matlala made no bones of the fact that their (BSP’s) latest promotional venture is going to dig a deep hole in their pockets.
“ Branco and I feel obligated to give Mathebula an equal opportunity to advance his career like we do with all our other 20 champions,” added Matlala.
The tournament will also feature Boxing South Africa Prospect of the Year nominee Chris van Heerden, the unbeaten lightweight prospect Jacques Stapelberg as well as unbeaten Botswana import Lesley Sekotswe.
Tickets, pegged back at the same 2007 price of R50-00, are available from Carousel Casino.