By Ron Jackson
Mzolisi Yoyo makes the third defence of his South African junior welterweight title when he faces the 33-year-old Samuel Malinga at the Mdansane Indoor Centre near East London on Sunday afternoon. Having held the IBO Intercontinental, World Boxing Foundation and SA junior welterweight titles, Malinga will try to regain the national championship when he takes on Yoyo.
Yoyo won the belt when he beat Sikhulule Sidzumo on points on December 11 last year.
The 35-year-old champion, who has a record of 18-4, including 14 knockouts, has retained his title in challenges by Mzukisi Mgidi and Thembelani Chitani, whom he stopped in the fourth and sixth rounds respectively.
Yoyo has been a professional for five years this month but he has had periods of inactivity. He had only 14 fights before he challenged Patrick Malinga for the SA lightweight title on May 22, 2009. He was stopped in the second round.
After winning the Eastern Cape junior welterweight title in November 2009 by beating Stanley Gola on points, Yoyo again challenged for a national title in April the next year. But Sikhulule Sidzumo beat him on points in a clash for the vacant welterweight belt.
Now he fights a challenger who brings a record of 22-8-3, 14 KOs.
Malinga, ranked at #2 by Boxing SA, caused a major upset when he stopped Ted Bami of Zaire in the third round of a fight in Plymouth, England, in July 2003. The victory gave him the WBF belt.
On February 11, 2005 he won the vacant SA junior welterweight title by stopping Lawrence Ngobeni in the twelfth round. After a successful defence against Colin Mayisela he lost the title to Kaizer Mabuza in October 2008.
Malinga has had only six fights since then, winning two, losing three and drawing over eight rounds with Jason Bedeman on November 23 last year.
He has not fought this year and now has to prove that his career is not coming to an end. Even though he is younger than Yoyo, the champion is favoured to retain his title.
The tournament is presented by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Promotions.