By Ron Jackson
Two of South Africa’s most talented fighters will be involved in important title fights in September. Evans Mbamba is scheduled to fight Vic Darchinyan for the Australia-based Armenian’s IBO bantamweight belt and Moruti Mthalane (pictured at right) will defend his IBF flyweight title against an Italian, Andrea Sarritzu.
Mbamba will take on Darchinyan, who has won five “world” titles, at the Karen Demirchyan Concerts Complex in Yerevan, Armenia, on September 3.
The fight between Mthalane and Sarritzu will take place in Cagliari, Sardinia, on September 23.
Mbamba, from Duduzu in Gauteng, has a professional record of 18-1, with 9 knockouts. He will be up against an experienced fellow-southpaw. Darchinyan, who fights out of Sydney, stands at 36-3-1, including 27 stoppages.
The tournament will be presented by Nitro Boxing Promotions. Because Armenia has no boxing commission, the event will be overseen by the Australian Boxing Commission.
The 35-year-old Darchinyan has been regarded as one of the most exciting fighters in the world and has held the IBO, IBF, WBA and WBC super-flyweight belts.
Moving up to bantamweight, he won the vacant IBO bantamweight belt in May last year when he outpointed Eric Barcelona. He lost it to Abner Mares in his first defence last December but beat Yohnny Perez to regain the belt in May this year.
Mbamba, 29, faces the stiffest test of his career. He won the vacant WBC International super-flyweight title in November 2006 when he outpointed another South African, Zolile Mbityi.
He made successful defences against Pedro Cardenas and Unathi Gqoma.
But Mbamba has had only three fights since December 2008, when he knocked out Devid Lookmahanak.
He suffered his first defeat when he lost on points to Tomas Rojas in a fight for the interim WBC super-flyweight title in October 2009.
In October last year he stopped Michael Ramabeletsa in the seventh round in Mafikeng.
Darchinyan has also fought Rojas. He knocked him out in the second round in October 2009 at a time when the Armenian was regarded as the No 1 super-flyweight in the world.
NICK DURANDT IS CONFIDENT
Mthalane, 28, is ranked No 5 by The Ring magazine. His challenger is rated No 4 by the IBF.
The former SA flyweight champion won the vacant IBF belt in November 2009 when he beat Julio Cesar Miranda on points. He has made successful defences against South Africa’s Zolani Tete and Johnriel Casimero, stopping both in the fifth round.
The 35-year-old Sarritzu, who has a record of 32-4-4, including 12 knockouts, has been a professional for 13 years. Fighting in his home town, he will challenge for a world title for the second time.
He lost on a split decision to Omar Andres Narvaez when he challenged for the WBO flyweight belt in December 2002.
Sarritzu, a skilful fighter, is the European Boxing Union flyweight champion.
Nick Durandt, who manages both Mbamba and Mthalane, is confident that Mthalane will win and hopes promoter Branco Milekovic can take the fighter to a unification fight against one of the other flyweight champions.