Apolinario faces Buthelezi for IBO belt

·1 min read

UNBEATEN world-rated prospect Dave Apolinario gets a crack at the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight strap against veteran Gideon Buthelezi on July 29 in one of the featured fights of “The 7th Annual Celebration of Madiba as a Boxer” in East London, South Africa.

The 23-year-old Apolinario is closing in on a world title shot and winning against an established veteran in Buthelezi should boost him in the world rankings.

Apolinario is currently ranked No. 6 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), No. 10 by the International Boxing Federation, No. 15 by the World Boxing Organization and No. 34 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).

Apolinario hasn’t had much action in the past three years. He only had three fights since 2020. His last fight was a fourth round stoppage of Mike Kinaadman on Feb. 5 in General Santos City.

Buthelezi should be his stiffest test to date.

The 35-year-old Buthelezi is an IBO champion in three weight divisions: super flyweight, light flyweight and minimumweight.

Buthelezi also challenged for a world title in 2011 but lost to the WBC light flyweight titleholder Adrian Hernandez via a second round knockout in Mexico.

Buthelezi also owns a win over former world champion Hekkie Budler, Edrin Dapudong and Immanuel Naidjala.

Buthelezi won his last nine fights and is coming off a split decision over Jonas Matheus last year.

Apolinario is 16-0 with 11 knockouts, while Buthelezi is 23-5 with five knockouts.

Also seeing action in the same card is Apolinario’s Sanman Gym teammate Ben Mananquil.

Mananquil (18-2-3, 5 KOs) slugs it out with undefeated Phumelele Cafu (5-0-3, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBA Intercontinental super flyweight strap.

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