Gabula Vabaza Cancels Fight With Steve Molitor: Another Disappointment For "The Canadian Kid"

31.08.06 - By Jacqui Snow: This Friday, September 1st, Steve "The Candian Kid" Molitor (22-0, 8 KO's) was scheduled to fight undefeated Gabula "Slashing Tiger" Vabaza (23-0-1, 15 KO's) for the vacant IBF Super Bantamweight belt. Molitor's been waiting for this title shot since December 3rd when Israel Vasquez (40-3, 29 KO's) was stripped of the belt for refusing to fight him, choosing instead to fight Oscar Larios for the WBC Super Bantamweight Title..

The IBF subsequently ordered Argentinian Sergio Manuel Medina to fight Molitor for the title, but Medina refused the fight also. The stage was thus set stage for Molitor's attempt to become the first Canadian to win a major title outside of North America. However, third time wasn't a charm for the unfortunate Molitor—Vabaza has withdrawn from the fight due to medical reasons. The fight card in Johannesburg will still go on with three South African titles on the line, but the main event has been canceled.

Molitor's unbeaten record has come against very limited opposition and most of his fights have taken place in bars, nightclubs and convention centers. Vabaza, for his part, has never fought outside of South Africa and didn't exactly represent a major step up in competition. But the fact that there was a title on the line obviously made this a significant bout for both fighters.

The cancellation's also a big disappointment for Molitor's trainer, Chris Johnson, for whom this bout represented a chance to achieve some of the glory he'd hoped to realize as a professional fighter. Following his bronze medal win for Canada at the 1992 Olympics, "Mr. Showtime" turned pro and was a promising light heavyweight with a 26-2 record when he faced off against Antonio Tarver. That fight (and Johnson's career) ended in the 10th round when Tarver's shot to the head dropped his opponent to the canvas. Johnson was carried out of the ring on a stretcher and spent a week in hospital lapsing in and out of consciousness.

Molitor's promoter Orion Sports Management, showed confidence in their fighter by booking November 21st at Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, for a rematch in anticipation of Molitor's win over Vabaza. Ontario isn't exactly a hotbed of boxing activity—that would've been the first time a fight for a major title belt was held in Ontario since Nick Furlano fought Aaron Pryor in Toronto in 1984. Disappointed boxing fans will have to wait a little longer as the great white northern hope is left shaking his head and wondering when he'll finally get his opportunity to fight for a world title.

Article posted on 01.09.2006

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