Simphiwe Khonco is set to challenge the number one minimumweight fighter in the world, WBC world champion Wanaheng Menayothin of Thailand on October 23.
South Africa’s Khonco is listed as the mandatory challenger for Menayothin’s WBC world title.
The fight will take place in Thailand at a venue to be announced at a later date. The bout is expected to take place during the day and it is likely to be very hot – to the advantage of the Thai champ, Menayothin.
The WBC is considered to be the world’s foremost boxing organisation and if Khonco wins he can be regarded as the best minimumweight in the world.
Khonco is ranked fourth in the world in the Pro Boxing Rankings for minimum weight fighters behind Menayothin, Thammanoon Niyomtrong, and Wilfredo Mendez. Niyomtrong is the reigning WBA minimumweight world champion, while Puerto Rican southpaw Mendez is in possession of the WBO world minimumweight title.
South Africa and WBC titles
Thulani Malinga and Dingaan Thobela are the only SA fighters in history to have won WBC titles. Both fighters won their titles in the Super middleweight division.
Malinga won the WBC world title twice. He beat Nigel Benn by split decision in March of 1996 in Newcastle before losing his first title defence to Vincenzo Nardiello in Manchester later that same year.
In 1997 Malinga beat Robin Reid to regain the WBC super middleweight title but he would again lose in his first defence of the title. He was on the wrong end of a unanimous points decision in a title match in Manchester against Richie Woodhall.
The Rose of Soweto beat Glenn Catley to win the same WBC super middleweight title in Brakpan in September 2000. Thobela lost the title to Canadian fighter Dave Hilton who would never defend the title and only fought one more bout before retiring. The South African would take another shot at the WBC title, in 2001 Thobela fought another Canadian, Eric Lucas but lost by TKO in the eighth round.
Some have questioned the Number one rating of Khonco by the WBC. He has only beaten one top-ranked fighter since he lost on points to Hekkie Budler in September 2015 in a challenge for the WBA and IBO minimumweight belts.
Since the loss to Budler the 33-year-old Konco 19-5; 7 has won against Siyabongo Siyo, Nkosinathi Joyi, Lito Dante (No 6 WBC) and Toto Landero, all on points.
Khonco’s most recent fight against Joey Canoy nearly 10 months ago did not go well. He was knocked down twice in the second round before the fight was stopped. The bout ended in the fourth round due to a cut on Khonco, after an accidental head-butt, and was declared a no-contest.
33-year-old Menayothin is an icon of minimumweight boxing sporting an outstanding record of 53-0; 18 and has made 11 successful defences of the belt since November 2014.
If Khonco can find a way to beat the Thai fighter then he will have earned his way to the top of the tree, but he will have his work cut out for him.