Branco Sports Productions (BSP) continues to prove the notion that " You are only as good as the pressure you can handle". Co-promoters Branco Milenkovic and Baby Jake Matlala have once again shown the boxing establishment they are well on top of their game by rescuing Mhikiza " Showtime" Myekeni's WBC International title defence.
Myekeni's scheduled defence against the Argentinean champion Ricardo Toledo at the Orient Theatre in East London on this Friday night, nose-dived in the past 48 hours when the South American challenger was unable to make it to the country on time.
After airline booking problems in Argentina left Toledo and his entourage stranded, Milenkovic franctically negotiated with broadcasters SABC Sport to postpone the tournament to the following Friday (November 11th).
A new air ticket was subsequently issued to Toledo and his handlers, but Milenkovic has now been informed via the Argentinean's agent in Buenos Aires, that his charge had opted to withdraw completely from the fight.
Unphased, Milenkovic and his partner Baby Jake Matlala sprung into action and found a substitute in Capetonian Sipho Mantyi, who has been approved as a challenger for Myekeni's title by the WBC, in East London on November 11th.
While Branco has taken the latest turn of events in it's stride, co-promoter and four-time world champion Baby Jake Matlala, has a different view of the situation.
" To me, all the latest developments surrounding the Argentinean champion, are very puzzling," said Matlala. " After signing the contracts for November 4th, and agreeing to re-sign for the 11th, the fact he has still pulled out, smacks of something fishy," he added.
If one scrutinises Mantyi's ring record closely, it would appear as if he poses a far greater threat to Myekeni than the Argentinean would have.
Although Toledo is the Argentinean national champion, his record was patchy (24 fights, 10 wins, 11 losses and 3 draws), while the hard-hitting Mantyi (27 fights, 19 wins -- 16 by knockout -- 6 losses, 2 draws) has a pretty impressive professional record.
Although Mantyi is more experienced than the champion (21 fights), both boxers have won as many fights, but Mantyi's high knockout ratio must be a worrying factor for Myekeni's handlers.
Myekeni (WBC # 6, WBO # 12, WBA/IBF # 14) is very highly regarded by the world's four major sanctioning bodies since capturing the vacant WBC International title via a sixth round stoppage of the Filipino Sonnyboy Jaro at Graceland on April 29th.
The Myekeni-Jaro clash was one of the most memorable this year, with Myekeni having hit the canvas in the second round before composing himself to post the sixth round stoppage victory.
** The undercard on November 11th will feature boxers from most of the top gyms in the East London-Mdantsane district such as those of Welsh and Mzi Mnguni, Siphato Handi, Dowie Mzini, Bob Sityana as well as Mthobeli Mbilina.
" We are always welcome in East London because it is a known fact that we support all the gyms available to us in the popular Eastern Cape boxing mecca," remarked Milenkovic.
" Unlike some of our competitors, we pride ourselves on the fact that we give as many gyms and trainers as possible in East London, a chance to showcase their rising talents on our bills," added Milenkovic.
Boxing starts at 19h30 on November 11th at the Orient Theatre and ticket prices have been pegged back at just R30-00. The tournament will be screened live on SABC Sport's Blow by Blow -- Uncut from 10pm.