By Ron Jackson
South African featherweight champion Sydney Maluleka makes the first defense of South African featherweight title when he faces Aphiwe Mboyiya of Duncan Village at the Orient Theatre in East London on Sunday afternoon. Maluleka, from Gauteng and has a reported record of 11-3, including 6 knockouts. He won the title on September 30 in what was considered an upset when he stopped Sabelo Jubatha in the seventh round.
Maluleka made his professional debut on May 28, 2004, winning on points against David Ndlala. In his eighth fight, he challenged for the vacant SA featherweight title but lost on points to Ludumo Galada. In a non-title return bout in March 2007 he was beaten on points over six rounds. Since then he has won only four fights.
Mboyiya is rated at No 5 by Boxing SA. He has won six fights, four inside the distance, according to Boxrec.com. In June this year he beat the capable Wonga Ntoyakhe on points over ten rounds.
On the undercard, 40-year-old Simphiwe Nongqayi returns to action when he faces Thabo Sonjica of Duncan Village in a junior featherweight bout.
Nongqayi, a former World Boxing Foundation and IBF junior bantamweight champion, has a record of 17-2-1, with 6 knockouts. He represented South Africa at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and won the IBF junior featherweight belt on September 15, 2009 when he upset veteran Jorge Arce in Cancun, Mexico. He made a successful defence against Malik Bouziane before losing the title to Juan Alberto Rosas, who stopped him in the sixth round. In his most recent fight, on September 24 last year, he lost on a fourth-round technical knockout to Arce in a challenge for the WBO junior featherweight belt.
The southpaw Sonjica has built up a record of 15-2; 11 since his pro debut in June 2007. He has had two cracks at the SA junior featherweight title but lost inside the distance on both occasions to Macbute Sinyabi. In his most recent fight, in June this year, Sonjica stopped Pfariso Neluvhulani in the fourth round. Neluvhulani went 12 rounds with Sinyabi in a SA title fight last weekend.
The tournament is promoted by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Boxing Promotions.