By Ron Jackson
Former South African bantamweight champion Vusi Malinga will once again challenge for world honours when he meets Jamie McDonnell in an IBF bantamweight title eliminator at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England on October 20. The southpaw Malinga (20-4-1, 12 KOs), who will be 33 on October 28, lost to Mexican Leo Santa Cruz of Mexico on June 2 this year in a clash for the vacant IBF bantamweight belt.
In March 2009 Malinga was stopped in the first round by Hozumi Hasegawa in Kobe, Japan when challenging for the WBC bantamweight belt. Since that setback he has only had three fights, a third round knockout win over Fadhili Majia in September 2009, a points win over Michael Domingo in an IBF title eliminator on October 30, 2010 and the fight against Santa Cruz.
He faces a tough assignment against the 26-year-old McDonnell (19-2-1, 8 KOs) from Doncaster who holds the British, Commonwealth and European bantamweight titles and is unbeaten in his last eleven fights.
Sityatha defends SA title against Mbamba
Minyakhe Sityatha from Mdantsane makes the third defence of his South African junior bantamweight title when he meets Evans Mbamba of Duduza near Nigel at the Orient Theatre in East London on October 28.
Sityatha (14-2, 7 KOs) won the SA title on April 2, 2011 when he knocked out Unathi Gqokoma in the tenth round and has made successful defences against Mncedi Yokose (tko 8) and Thembelani Maphuma (tko 9). In his most recent fight in May this year he outpointed Filipino Marjohn Yap over ten rounds in East London.
Mbamba (18-2, 9 KOs) who fights from the southpaw stance won the vacant WBC International super flyweight title in November 2006 when he beat Zolile Mbityi on a split decision. He retained the title with wins over Pedro Cardenas (tko 11) and Unathi Gqokoma (pts 12). His only losses have come against Tomas Rojas for the WBC super flyweight belt and Vic Darchinyan for the IBO bantamweight belt.
This is an intriguing matchup between the youth of the 22-year-old Sityatha and the experience of the 31-year-old Mbamba.