By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Simphiwo Nongqayi faces the toughest fight of his career when steps into the ring with Mexican Francisco Arce in Toluca, Mexico on Saturday night. The 37-year-old Nongqayi (15-0, 6 KOs) and Arce (28-4-2, 19 KOs) will meet in an IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator. The South African who had a long and successful amateur career fought at the 1988 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpar and was eliminated in the second series.
Nongqayi made his professional debut on September 14, 2002 with a points win over Bongani Twala
After two more wins in 2003 he remained inactive until April 2004 when he outpointed Wendy Mackenzie and then racked up another seven wins before scoring an eighth round stoppage win over the experienced Khulile Makeba to win the World Boxing Foundation junior bantamweight belt on December 15, 2006.
He has now made successful defences of the belt against Rafael Tirado, Dario Azuaga Ledezma and in his most recent fight in May 2008 he retained the belt with a points win over Julio Ler from Argentina.
Arce, 27, from Los Mochis, Sinaloa in Mexico made his professional debut in September 2000 and in 2008 scored wins over Rodolfo Garay on two occasions, Oswaldo Rodriguez, William De Sousa and fought to a draw with Marco Antonio Hernandez.
None of these fighters are world beaters and the rangy South African with his awkward stop-start style is definitely in with a chance.
The winner between Nongqayi and Arce will have the right to challenge the IBF, WBA and WBC champion Vic Darchinyan who stopped Arce’s brother Jorge in eleven rounds in January.