By Ron Jackson
At a media briefing held on Tuesday at the Rosebank Hotel in Johannesburg, neo africa announced that they will be sponsoring IBF junior lightweight champion Malcolm Klassen, Evans Mbamba, Silence Mabuza and Isaac Hlatshwayo. All four fighters are from the Nick Durandt stable. Mabuza a former two-time IBO champion meets the unbeaten Yohnny Perez from Colombia at the Springs Indoor Arena on May 29 in a final eliminator for the IBF bantamweight belt, with the victor facing the winner of the fight between Vic Darchinyan and the champion Joseph Agbeko to be held on July 11 in Sunrise, Florida. Mbamba the mandatory challenger for the WBC super flyweight belt will possibly face current interim champion Silvestre Lopez of the Philippines once the fight has gone to purse bids. The former IBO lightweight and welterweight champion Hlatshwayo is scheduled to fight Delvin Rodriguez for the vacant IBF welterweight belt at a date and venue to be announced. The belt became vacant when the IBF stripped Joshua Clottey for taking a fight with WBO champion Miguel Cotto, which is scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden, New York on June 13. In terms of the IBF rules junior lightweight champion Malcolm Klassen is entitled to make a voluntary defence before being obliged to meet a mandatory challenger. Contrary to local opinion he will possibly meet an opponent to be named shortly and not wait for the winner of the elimination bout between Mzonke Fana and Jasper Seroka. Vivien Natasen the CEO of neo africa announced that as South Africa has a proud history of producing champion boxers, his company thought it important to recognise top fighters and give them financial backing to enable them to really hone their abilities. He also announced that the four fighters will be on a one year contract and paid bonuses on their performance.