By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Malcolm Klassen a former IBF and WBF junior lightweight champion hopes to capture his third world title when he challenges Australian based Filipino Jack Assis for his IBO super featherweight belt at the Emerald Casino in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng on Friday night. The 35-year-old talented Klassen 32-6-2; 17 from Toekomsrus, West Rand is one of the better South African world champions in recent years, and has made a habit of collecting titles since he made his pro debut in May 1999.
He won the vacant South African featherweight title in August 2005 when he outpointed Edward Mpofu over 12 rounds and then made three successful defences before winning the IBF junior lightweight belt in November 2006 when he beat Gairy St Clair, but lost it in his first defence against Mzonke Fana.
However, he regained the IBF belt in April 2009 in an outstanding performance when he smashed multiple world champion Cassius Baloyi to defeat in seven rounds; only to lose the belt in his first defence against Robert Guerrero four months later.
In November 2011 he won the WBF junior lightweight title with a victory over Daniel Lomeli.
Assis, 33, who has a record of 35-18-5; 18 won the vacant IBO belt with an eighth round knockout over Kye MacKenzie of Australia in April last year.
This will be his first defence but he has had two non-title fights since winning the belt, with wins over Hero Tito (19-7-2) and Waylon Law (9-6).
Asis an Australian based Filipino is an aggressive fighter but has been stopped inside the distance on six occasions. However, he has remained unbeaten since February 2011 in 15 fights.
This is an intriguing battle of veterans that could go either way.
The referee is Terry O’Connor (England) and the judges are Artur Ellensohn (Germany), Eddie Pappoe (Ghana) and Dave Parris (England).
In the main supporting bout Toto Helebe a former South African bantamweight champion meets Filipino Jhon Gemino for the vacant WBA Intercontinental super bantamweight title. Helebe has a reported record of 17-6; 9 and Gemino’s reported record is 13-7-1; 5.
The tournament is presented by new promoters Black Gauntlet Promotions.