Boxing: KIassen defends IBF belt in first Stateside fight



HOUSTON - Malcolm Klassen fights for the second time outside his native South Africa Saturday when he puts his International Boxing Federation super featherweight title on the line against Robert Guerrero.
Klassen, who fought in London in 2002, will be making his first defence of the title that he won for a second time with a seventh-round technical knockout of compatriot Cassius Baloyi in April.
He had claimed the belt for the first time with a split decision victory over Gaiy St. Clair in 2006, but relinqished it by split decision against Mzonke Fana in his first defence.



Boxing: KIassen defends IBF belt in first Stateside fight
Since that defeat, Klassen is 4-0, all victories inside the distance, and he says he hasn't made the trip to Texas to see that streak end.
"For me to come to Houston from South Africa and leave my title here is not going to happen," Klassen said. "That will never happen."
Klassen is counting on his first fight in the United States to be a springboard to fame in North America.
"This fight will open up doors," he said. "I'm not a person who needs a lot of money. I just want to make my name."
Guerrero, a two-time featherweight world champion, moves up a division to challenge Klassen.
Guerrero is no stranger to tough fights. He won a title fight in Denmark before hostile fans, and has fought throughout his wife's ongoing battle with leukemia.
He brings a record of 24-1-1, with 17 knockouts, But his no-contest against Daud Yordan, when he said he couldn't continue because of a cut, sparked questions.
"The one area where Guerrero is going to be tested is in the heart department, and we've noticed the heart isn't too big," Klassen trainer Nick Durandt said.
The card also features a high-profile catch-weight fight between two former world champions - Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi.
Former lightweight titlist Diaz (34-2, 17 KO), has lost two of his last three, including a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in February.
Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KO), was stopped by Ricky Hatton last November 22 and has fought only once since, beating little known Christopher Fernandez over eight rounds in April.
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Saturday, August 22nd 2009
AFP
           


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