By Ron Jackson
Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Productions presents two IBF title fights at the Nasrec Indoor Arena near Johannesburg on Saturday night with Steve Molitor defending his IBF junior featherweight belt against Takalani Ndlovu and IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane defending his belt against Johnriel Casimero
Molitor –Ndlovu three was originally scheduled to take place on March 19 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. However, the March 19 date fell beyond the IBF’s 90-day rule, and a new purse bid was scheduled which resulted in Milenkovic winning the bid and bringing the fight to South Africa.
The 30-year-old Molitor 33-1; 12 from Canada who fights from the southpaw stance has won the IBF belt on two occasions. He won the vacant title in November 2006 when he stopped Michael Hunter in five rounds and then made successful defences against Ndlovu (tko 9), Fahsan 3K Battery (pts 12), Ricardo Castillo (pts 12), Fernando Beltran Jr. (pts 12) and Ceferino Dario Labarda (tko 10), before losing the belt to Celestino Caballero who stopped him in four rounds.
When Caballero relinquished the belt Molitor regained it when he outpointed Ndlovu in Canada on March 27, 2010.
The fight was much closer than the 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 scores of the judges.
In September last year Molitor, 30, retained the belt when he outpointed Briton’s Jason Booth.
Since the loss to Molitor the 33-year-old Ndlovu 31-6; 18 has had a closely contested fight in an eliminator for the IBF belt with fellow South African Jeffrey Mathebula to win on a split decision, in September last year.
The officials for the fight are, referee Earl Morton (USA), judges Valerie Dorsett (USA), Alan Davis (Canada), Alfred Buqwana (SA).
Moruti Mtahlane 26-2; 16 makes the second defence of his belt which is a voluntary defence, against Johnriel Casimero 14-1; 8 from the Philippines who is a former WBO junior flyweight champion and is not rated in the IBF flyweight ratings of March 4. According to the most recent ratings he is rated at number six as a junior flyweight.
However, despite not being rated as a flyweight the 21-year old Casimero is a capable fighter having won the WBO junior flyweight belt in May 2009 when he knocked Arden Diale and then made a successful defence against Cesar Canchila (tko 11) before losing the belt to Ramon Garcia Hirales on a split decision in July last year.
The officials for the fight are: referee, Wally Snowball (SA), judges Valerie Dorsett (USA), Alan Davis (Canada), Simon Jazi Xamlashe (S A).
On the undercard the 33-year-old Patrick Malinga 27-6-2; 24 of Katlehong makes the fourth defence of his South African lightweight title against mandatory challenger Thompson Mokwana 11-4; 6 from Johannesburg.
Other bouts; Flyweight, 6 rounds: Jackson Chauke v Fikile Mlonyeni; Junior middleweight, 6 rounds: Nkululeko Mhlongo v Colin Mayisela; Heavyweight, 6 rounds: Ilunga Makabu v Nsitu Mbaya.