Feature Story

Hlatshwayo set for first defense

By Ron Jackson

Isaac Hlatshwayo makes the first defence of his IBF welterweight belt when he meets Dejan Zavec from Slovenia at the Wembley Indoor Arena on Friday night. The 33-year-old Zaveck (27-1-1nc; 15) who fights under the name of Jan Zaveck and is based in Magedeburg, Germany can be considered fortunate to receive a crack at the belt as he is only ranked at number thirteen in the latest IBF rankings.

Zaveck who was born in Ptuj, Slovenia made his pro debut in Germany on March 1, 2003 with a first round stoppage win over Zsolt Toth. In July 2004 he won the German welterweight title when he stopped Arthur Nowak in the eighth round and has also won the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight belt (Mikhail Boyarskikh, tko 8), IBF Inter-Continental welterweight title (Joel Mayo, tec dec 6) and the European Union welterweight title (Nicolas Guisset, pts 12).

In November 2008 he lost the European Union title on a disputed spilt decision against Rafal Jackiewicz in Poland.On November 27 this year Jackiewicz (35-8-1; 18) from Poland beat Delvin Rodriguez on a highly disputed points decision in Poland in an eliminator for the IBF welterweight belt.

Hlatshwayo, 32, who only recently rejoined trainer Manny Fernandes after leaving Nick Durandt is a former South African and IBO lightweight champion and IBO welterweight champion; won the vacant IBF welterweight belt in August when he outpointed Delvin Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic in Uncasville, USA in his only fight this year.

Hlatshwayo (29-1-1-1nc; 10) whose only loss was against Kendall Holt in November 2006 only had two fights in 2008, a win over Robert Medley in Australia in defence of his IBO welterweight belt and a disputed draw with Delvin Rodriguez at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park.

Zaveck who is coming of wins against Arek Malek and Jorge Daniel Miranda in 2009 has not fought at the same level as Hlatshwayo and on perusing his record there are no really standout fighters. However, it is this unknown factor that could spell danger for the South African who is not known as a power puncher, with only ten stoppage wins on his record. He will have to be at his best to box his way to a points decision.

On the undercard former South African featherweight and WBU junior lightweight champion Phillip Ndou has his third fight on the comeback trail when he faces Ali Phiri (10-1-1) from Zimbabwe over eight rounds.

Former SA and World Boxing Foundation junior featherweight champion Oscar Chauke (24-5-2; 7) clashes with Tendai Sanyarukova (11-4) of Zimbabwe also over eight rounds.

Other bouts
Junior lightweight, 6 rounds: Warren Joubert v Patrick Masango; 6 rounds:
Flyweight: Jackson Chauke v Sandile Mxabaniso; Six rounds: Junior
welterweight: Nthtuko Memela v Masanda Kakaza.

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