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19 NOVEMBER 2018


Joyi Plans Ring Return; Takayama Rematch For November

Joyi poses with Raul Garcia before their bout
Joyi poses with Raul Garcia before their bout

By Derek Bonnett: For Nkosinathi "Mabere" Joyi, the first half of 2011 passed anticlimactically. In his lone appearance on January 29, Joyi’s first defense of his IBF minimumweight title ended in a no-contest after an unintentional clash of heads caused a cut to the right side of the Katsunari Takayama’s head. Prior to the premature conclusion, the champion had already begun to assert his dominance over his challenger much as he had in victories over Florante Condes and Raul Garcia. Joyi plans to honor Katsunari’s shot at the world title with a rematch, but first the champion plans to tackle one additional challenge.

"Nkosinathi Joyi will be back in action around October 1, in East London, [the champion]’s hometown, in South Africa, " stated Siphatho Handi, Joyi’s manager. "We will announce the opponent in the next few weeks. Katsunari Takayama will fight Joyi at the end of November 2011 as a mandatory challenger in South Africa."

Activity is one positive trait of a world champion, but greater opportunity and exposure is something Joyi’s career needs now that he already owns wins over Sammy Gutierrez, Condes, and Garcia. Only astute followers of the sweet science know who these practitioners in the ring are or even follow the development of the 105 pound weight class. Joyi has yet to compete outside of his native South Africa and, if he is to garner greater attention world-wide, that must change soon. Currently, the division’s top talent is spread throughout Japan, Philippines, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

"Joyi has not received any offers to fight in North America," Handi explained. "My Agent Mr. Siyolo Dabula did try to contact some of the current world champions Muhammad Rachman (recently dethroned), Donnie Nietes (now at 108), and even Roman Gonzalez while he was still at 105 for a possible unification bout, but they all refused to fight Joyi. The only person that was willing to fight Joyi was Palacios when he was still WBC interim under Don King, but they wanted big money to come to South Africa."

Without the name of one of the other top boxers at minimumweight alongside his own on the marquee, Joyi will remain one of boxing’s best kept secrets for more casual fans. Major boxing networks such as HBO and Showtime hardly acknowledge the existence of boxing’s smallest division since the retirement of the great Ricardo Lopez.

"Yes, it is a bit discouraging [fighting at 105] in terms of recognition and money," Joyi conceded. " The division is not taken very seriously by world sanctioning bodies, promoters and television networks. Other than that, I enjoy being the best boxer in my division, but I want to make history: no boxer has ever unified the strawweight division titles in the past. I want to be the first one."

Unification is one way to garner attention from networks and fans, for as long as it lasts, since those same sanctioning bodies enjoy stripping champions as much as crowning them. Another way is to move up in weight or division hop the way Henry Armstrong did in his day and Manny Pacquiao has done with great success today. Increased activity, which is being proposed seemingly, is a third.

"Joyi is comfortable at 105 pounds at the moment; he is a natural strawweight division boxer," Handi affirmed. "However, boxing is a business; therefore, if Joyi runs out of competition in his current division, there is no doubt that we’ll consider moving up a division. Nkosinathi Joyi is a workaholic, he’s always in the gym, working very hard on his shape. Remember that Nkosinathi Joyi once fought one time in thirteen months, demolishing Armand de la Cruz in two round in November 2006, and his following fight was against Gabriel Pumar in November 2007, whom he knocked out in round one. We would love to keep him more active though. He is also not getting younger, maybe one day the long layoffs will catch up with us and we don’t want that to happen. We are hoping that will change soon."

In regard to a big name fight, Joyi is not convinced is will be provided to him by one of his top contenders, which include the formidable Ganigan Lopez, the crowd-pleasing Cuello D. Singwancha, or the scintillating Carlos Buitrago. The game Joyi deems worthy resides one division north of him, so maybe a rise in weight will occur sooner than anyone is willing to admit.

"With all due respect, no one can beat me at 105," Joyi asserted. "The only people who I think can give me a hard fight are Roman Gonzalez and Ulises Solis at 108, but, believe me, if we fight, I’ll beat them in their countries. I like Gonzalez a lot, he is a solid fighter and that’s the kind of fight I want. I am the best boxer at 105. I want to fight big names at 105 or 108. Whoever is approved and sanctioned by IBF, WBA, WBC & WBO as a top boxer must come and fight this best pound for pound boxer. I know Gonzalez’ manager is a good friend of my agent Siyolo and I hope one day that fight will happen. I talk about Gonzalez a lot, not because I disrespect him, but because I know we are in the same grade and I know if I beat him the world will notice."

Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez is himself only beginning to muster some attention from mainstream boxing audiences. Recently, he fought underneath the Marquez brothers on big promotion by his standard. On October 1, he is scheduled to be part of another major card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the type of attention Joyi needs, but like many other top South African talents, he has so far been denied.

"The current state of South African boxing has taken a dive since the 1990’s and early 2000," Joyi lamented. "Remember, we had Bungu, Botile, Petelo, Makepula, Thobela, etc., who were all excellent fighters. Otherwise, outside of me as the best boxer in SA, I think [IBF flyweight champion] Moruthi Mthalane is the next one. He is a hardworker in the ring and his solid defense makes him a hard nut to crack. Macbute Sinyabi [at super bantamweight] is also a good fighter."

The names Bungu, Botile, Petelo, Makepula, and Thobela are remembered, but not by all fans. Mostly they are remembered with due reverence by boxing aficionados and certainly by myself. One thing they all have in common over Joyi is that they all eventually received high profile bouts and network attention in North America, while Joyi still waits his turn. All of them deserved their props, but from where I stand, Joyi has what it takes to be the elite fighter among this group of South African greats.

Joyi has the frame of a long range fighter with exceptional reach and height. He is able to box from the outside, but due to his physical gifts he can truly fight on the inside from the outside as well! If he can earn victory in October and in his rematch with Takayama, a unification bout has to become the top priority. With Juan Palacios, Kazuto Ioka, and a few other names mentioned previously currently residing in SecondsOut’s top ten at 105, Joyi has a few challenges left before he can clean up the division and look for a boxing guru’s super fight with Roman Gonzalez.

For further boxing discussion contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook or at

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