By Ron Jackson
Former IBF mini flyweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi returns to action for the first time since losing his belt in September this year, when he faces Walter Rojas from Argentina at the Orient Theatre in East London on Saturday night. Joyi (22-1, 15 KOs) who fights from the southpaw stance suffered his first defeat when he was knocked out in the seventh round by Mario Rodriguez of Mexico on September 1. The 29-year-old Joyi’s career has stuttered along since he won the IBF belt in March 2010 with a points win over Raul Garcia. He has only had three fights since then, one of which was a three round no contest against Katsunari Takayama.
Rojas, 25, from Monte Grande, Buenos Aires made his pro debut in March 2008 and suffered his first defeat in February 2009 when he was knocked out in the third round by Diego Miguel Rodriguez (15-11-1). He went on to win his next eleven fights before fighting out of Argentina for the first time on August 6, 2011 for the WBA Fedecentro minimumweight title against Jesus Silvestre in Navajoa, Mexico. Silvestre knocked him out in the third round and after that setback he has scored victories over unknowns Juan Ramon Frutos and Christopher Nicolas Almei this year, back in Argentina.
Rojas with a record of 19 wins, with 18 inside the distance, 2 losses and 1 draw has not fought at the same level as Joyi who could possibly win inside the distance.
Ali Funeka, 34, and Zolani Marali, 35, meet in a rematch at junior welterweight after Funeka won a disputed decision in November last year. The southpaw Marali who has held World Boxing Foundation junior featherweight and junior lightweight belts and the IBO junior featherweight and junior lightweight belts is past his best as is Funeka who is also a former WBF junior welterweight champion.
In what could be the best fight of the night Tshifhiwa Munyai 21-2-1; 10 a former Commonwealth bantamweight and IBO junior featherweight champion meets Oscar Chauke 29-7-2; 10 a former World Boxing Foundation champion over 12 rounds for the vacant WBA Pan African junior featherweight title.
In another title bout Macbute Sinyabi 19-2; 18 makes the ninth defence of his South African junior featherweight title when he takes on Pfariso Neluvhalani who has a reported record of 9-6-1; 1.
The tournament is presented by Siphatho Handi.