By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Takalani Ndlovu who is the current WBF featherweight champion moves down a division to take on Kiko Martinez of Spain in an IBF junior featherweight title eliminator at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night. This will possibly be the 32-year-old Ndlovu’s last chance to get a crack at one of the major organization belts. He is a former South African and IBO featherweight champion and when he challenged Steve Molitor in Canada on July 14, 2007 for the IBF junior featherweight belt he was stopped in the ninth round after a poor performance.
In 2008 he stopped Raymond Sermona in four and lost to Fernando Beltran in a challenge for the IBO featherweight belt. In March this year he won the low rent WBF featherweight belt when he beat Oscar Chauke.
Martinez, 23, is a good all round boxer with power in his right hand and has compiled a record of 20 wins, with 15 of those inside the distance. His only two losses have been close points decisions to the capable Rendall Munroe in European super bantamweight title fights.
In August 2007 he stopped Bernard Dunne in one round to win the European Boxing Union super bantamweight title. Dunne subsequently went on to win the WBA super bantamweight belt in March this year when he stopped Ricardo Cordoba in a sensational fight in Dublin.
The taller Ndlovu (29-5; 18) will have to be at his best to keep off the younger and tigerish Martinez through 12 rounds.
On the undercard former SA bantamweight champion Vusi Malinga (18-3; 11) takes on Fadhili Majia (7-0; 3) of Tanzania in a clash for the vacant WBO Africa bantamweight title.
Other bouts on the bill are Michael Schultz (14-0-2; 7) against Oupa Mahlangu (3-8-1; 3) at super middleweight and Warren Joubert against Sifiso Msibi at lightweight.