By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Gideon Buthelezi is an overwhelming favorite to retain his IBO junior bantamweight belt when he meets Ryan Rey Ponteras from the Philippines on Friday night at the International Convention Centre in East London, South Africa. The 31-year-old Buthelezi (19-5, 4 KOs), who fights from the southpaw stance is one of South Africa’s most skillful fighters in recent years.
He has won seven belts since making his pro debut in July 2006 which include the IBO strawweight and IBO flyweight belts. He has also captured the IBO junior-bantamweight belt on two occasions; and has a victory over the current IBO light-flyweight champion Hekkie Budler.
Buthelezi will be making the third defense of his IBO junior-bantamweight belt that he regained on December 18 2015 when he outpointed Makzole Tete in a clash for the vacant belt. He then made a successful defence against Diego Luis Pichardo Liriano in April 2016 and in his most recent fight in March this year he retained the belt against Angel Aviles.
Ponteras, 27, who has been fighting as a pro since March 2009 has compiled a record of 20-11-1, 9 KOs, mostly in the flyweight class and is ranked at number twenty nine in the current IBO flyweight rankings. The Filipino must be considered fortunate to get a crack at the IBO junior bantamweight belt in view of his record and present rating.
The South African will possibly once again give an exhibition of all his boxing skills on the way to a wide points decision over 12 rounds.
On the same card South African bantamweight champion 25-year-old Ludumo Lamati 11-0-1; 8 meets the vastly more experienced 37-year-old southpaw Luis Melendez 47-10-1; 34 from Colombia in a clash for the vacant IBF Intercontinental junior-featherweight title.
Also on the card is an interesting match-up between South Africa’s WBF bantamweight champion Mzuvukile Magwaca 18-0-3; 10 who faces Yesner Talavera 15-4-1; 4 from Nicaragua in a bout for the vacant IBF Intercontinental bantamweight title.
In another fight on this bumper bill Siphamandla Baleni 11-1; 4 defends his South African minimumweight title against Bangile Nyangeni 4-0; 3.
All the records have been taken from Boxrec.
The tournament is presented by Ayanda Matiti of Xaba Promotions and Events.