Joyi allays fears about Canoy showdown
Veteran Mdantsane boxing hero Nkosinathi “Mabere” Joyi has allayed fears that dropping down a division will affect him when he challenges for the vacant IBO mini-flyweight title against Filipino namesake Joey Canoy at the ICC in East London on Monday.
Joyi has not fought in the mini-flyweight because losing a competitive decision to Simpiwe Konkco three years ago, when he was coincidentally challenging for the very same belt.
He has been campaigning in the junior-flyweight division with an impressive run that includes two wins against solid opposition.
He was also on course to winning his third bout in July when Siphamandla Baleni turned their WBO Africa junior-flyweight title clash into a wrestling match and bundled Joyi to the canvas, dislocating his shoulder to render the outcome a no contest.
Despite fighting in a heavier division for three years, Joyi could not pass up the opportunity of a world-title shot after Konkco vacated the belt to pursue a WBC title, which he lost to Thai legend Wanheng Menayothin two months ago.
“We spoke to Joyi and he expressed interest to drop down to mini-flyweight for this world-title shot,” said promoter Ayanda Matiti, of Xaba Promotions, which will organise the fight.
But at 36, it is yet to be seen if Joyi's gamble will pay off — especially against a young southpaw opponent who proved a handful for Konkco in their fight.
Canoy dropped Konkco hard in the first round, with his southpaw stance appearing to befuddle the Mthatha-born boxer.
When the headbutt occurred Konkco was advised to pull out of the fight before disaster struck and when the fight was stopped the crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Now Joyi is going after this dangerous Filipino whose style resembles that of his compatriot Ray Loreto, who knocked the Mdantsane veteran out twice and appeared to have ended his career.
Canoy, who suffered one of his three losses to another Joyi conqueror, Hekkie Budler, has improved greatly and he will arguably enter the fight as a favourite due to his boxing style.
But because teaming up with former SA flyweight champion Ncedo Cecane as his trainer, Joyi has seemingly regained the sharpness that made him one of the feared boxers in the light divisions in the world.
His jab is back to its best and his work rate has also improved, though his timing is not yet back to its best.
In his most important latest win, Joyi faded badly against Ntlantla Tyirha in their WBO Africa junior-flyweight title clash.
Some believe he only won the bout because of Tyirha’s inexperience but he still could not put him away, though he was there for the taking.
The tournament will also feature a highly anticipated clash between NU 8 Mdantsane homies Sibusiso Bandla and Siyakholwa Kuse, with the SA mini-flyweight title up for grabs.
Kuse lost a disputed decision to Xolisa Magusha and after his appeal Boxing SA ordered a rematch.
Magusha was already committed to defending the title to Bandla, who dethroned him and inherited the rematch order.
The bout will be a contest of left handers, with Bandla favoured to retain his title, though Kuse proved against Magusha that he has underrated skills.