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Klassen to challenge for IBO jr lightweight belt

By Ron Jackson

Former South African featherweight and two-time IBF junior lightweight champion Malcolm Klassen travels to Melbourne, Australia where he will challenge unbeaten Will Tomlinson for the IBO junior lightweight belt on May 16. The 32-year-old Klassen who has a record of 27-5-2 with 14 wins coming inside the distance since joining the professional ranks in May 1999 won the vacant South African featherweight title on August 31, 2005 when he outpointed Edward Mpofu over 12 rounds.

After making three successful defences he moved up to the junior lightweight division to win the IBF junior lightweight belt with a points decision over Gairy St Clair of Guyana in November 2006. However, in his first defence he was beaten on a close points decision by fellow South African Mzonke Fana.

On April 18, 2009 he regained the IBF belt with a seventh stoppage win over Cassius Baloyi, only to lose it again in his first defence against Roberto Guerrero who now goes in against Floyd Mayweather for the WBC welterweight belt. After this setback his career has stuttered along with only three fights in almost three and a half years.

In November 2011 he beat Daniel Lomeli for the low key WBF junior lightweight belt and scored two rather lacklustre eight round points victories over Cassius Baloyi and Bongani Mahlangu in 2012.

The 26-year-old Tomlinson 20-0-1; 12 from Blacktown, Sydney won the vacant IBO junior lightweight belt in November 2011 when he outpointed Alan Herrera. In 2012 he made successful defences against Daniel Ruiz and Irving Berry.

On the same card former South African junior lightweight champion and current WBC International junior lightweight champion Sipho Taliwe 17-2-1; 14 makes the fifth defence of his title when he faces Matt Garlett 10-1; 6 from Perth. The 32-year-old Taliwe from Aliwal North should have the edge over the lesser experienced 28-year-old Garlett.




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