By Ron Jackson
Promoter Branco Milenkovic of Branco Sports Productions produces a bumper bill at Carnival City, Brakpan on Saturday night with Nkosinathi Joyi defending his IBF mini flyweight belt against Katsunari Takayama of Japan and in the co-feature Cassius Baloyi meets Argenis Mendiz from the Dominican Republic in an IBF junior lightweight title eliminator.
Joyi (21-0, 15 KOs) makes the first defence of his IBF mini flyweight belt against Japan’s Katsunari Takayama (24-4, 10 KOs). Takayama earned the right to face Joyi when he stopped Tshepo Lefele in six rounds at Carnival City last September and is expected to extend Joyi all the way. The southpaw Joyi, 27, possibly the most talented fighter in South Africa won the IBF belt in March last year when he outpointed previously unbeaten Mexican Raul Garcia in East London.
The 27-year-old Katsunari is a tough and experienced fighter who has had more experience at world title level than the South African and is hoping to become the first Japanese fighter in 26 years to win an IBF belt. .
In April 2005 he won the WBC minimumweight belt when he outpointed Isaac Bustos but lost it in his defence against Eagle Den Junhan.
However, in July 2006 he came back to win the WBA minimuweight belt when he beat Carlos Melo, only to lose it again in his first defence when Yutaka Niida took the belt on a split decision.
In July last year he lost on points to Roman Gonzalez who is possibly the best minimumweight fighter in the world in a challenge for the WBA belt.
Takayama is a rugged come forward fighter who is your face all night and Joyi will have to be at best to keep him out for 12 rounds.
The 36-year-old Cassius Baloyi (37-5-1) is hoping for redemption after his lacklustre performances in his last three fights when he meets the 27-year-old Argenis Mendez (17-1, 9 KOs) in an IBF junior lightweight title eliminator.
In the latest IBF junior lightweight rankings there are no fighters listed at number one and two. Baloyi is ranked number three and Mendez at number five. The winner will meet champion Mzonke Fana of South Africa.
In April 2009 Baloyi was bludgeoned to defeat in seven rounds by Malcolm Klassen to lose his IBF belt and in October of the same year he failed to impress in winning a 12 round decision over the limited Argentinian Roberto Arrieta.
In his most recent fight in September last year he was outclassed by Mzonke Fana in losing a 12 round points decision for the vacant IBF junior lightweight belt.
Mendez who fights out of Brooklyn, New York has not fought at the same level as Baloyi who has held six “world” belts, and has no name fighters on his record.
In December 2008 he won the vacant WBA Fedelatin super featherweight title when he beat Arturo Gomez (15-10-3) and then took the vacant USBA super featherweight title in May 2010 when he outpointed Martin Honorio (28-4-1) In his most recent fight in July last year he won an eight round points decision over Shamir Reyes (18-6-2).
If Baloyi has anything left he should have the beating of Mendez but possibly youth will prevail.
Chris van Heerden (14-1-1, 10 KOs) will be making the third defence of his SA welterweight title when he meets Boitshepo Mandawe (8-1, 6 KOs). Van Heerden won their first fight on a hard fought points decision.
In a junior heavyweight clash former SA light heavyweight champion Daniel Bruwer (22-2-1, 18 KOs) meets former WBU middleweight champion Ruben Groenewald (23-8-3, 10 KOs).
Fighting at welterweight former SA featherweight and WBU junior lightweight champion Phillip Ndou (33-4, 32 KOs) takes on the rugged Welcome Ntshingila (16-12-3, 5 KOs).