NKOSINATHI "Mabere" Joyi swears by his ancestors that he will be crowned the new International Boxing Organisation (IBO) junior flyweight champion next week.
The former IBO and International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimum weight champion from Mdantsane will fight Rey Loreto from the Philippines for the vacant title in Monte Carlo on February 1.
The fight — Joyi’s second outside South Africa — will be staged by Rodney Berman at Salles des Etoiles in Monte Carlo.
"I’m not going over there alone, but with all my ancestors. I have all the support you can think of. They may not be visible to be seen with the naked eye but I know for a fact that they will be there with me, so there is no way that I will lose this one," said 31-year-old Joyi, who came back from Mexico empty-handed in 2012 after surrendering the IBF belt with a seventh-round stoppage to Mario Rodriguez on September 1.
"That will never happen again," he said.
Joyi tasted defeat after a 23-fight winning streak. He bounced back to win the World Boxing Association (WBA) international belt with a first-round stoppage of Walter Rojas on December 8 2012.
In an attempt to add the second IBO strap to his collection, Joyi lost to Hekkie Budler on June 15 last year. He moved up a weight division and won the World Boxing Council (WBC) international belt after stopping Benezer Alolod in the ninth-round on August 31.
That was Joyi’s 17th knockout in 24 wins from 27 fights.
"I intend to do the same thing next week," said the left-hander who paid tribute to his chief sparring partner, Khanyi Mbeje Xulu.
The belt Joyi will challenge for is synonymous with South Africa. It has been held previously by Budler and Gideon Buthelezi. Budler lost it to Buthelezi on January 27 2011.
But Buthelezi was dethroned by Mexican Adrian Hernandez, who knocked him out in two rounds in Mexico on September 24 2011.
Hernandez forfeited it the same year he won it when he challenged for the WBC strap, losing by a knockout in the 10th round to Thai fighter Kompayak Porpramook in Bangkok on December 23 2011.
Berman then convinced the IBO’s championship committee to sanction Joyi and Loreto, who are highly rated, to fight for the vacant title in Monte Carlo.
Joyi’s trainer, Gert Strydom, said preparations went so well that Joyi is 800g over the limit. "We will knock it off in Monaco," said Strydom. "Joyi had 350 rounds of sparring in six weeks. Look, we hope to win the IBO title, which will open doors for us. Joyi is good enough to fight for WBA, WBC and IBF titles."
Joyi is rated No 7 by the WBC, 10 by the WBA and No 6 by the IBF.
Strydom described Loreto, 23, as a tough kid. "He is a come-forward fighter. His style will suit us just fine. Once he feels Joyi’s power, he’s gonna start running. I don’t see the fight going beyond eight rounds."