Jeffrey Mathebula fought with a broken jaw when he lost his IFB super-bantamweight title to Nonito Donaire in Los Angeles last Saturday night.
Promoter Branco Milenkovic said on Wednesday X-rays had shown Mathebula's jaw was broken. He needs surgery and will be out of boxing for a lengthy period.
Ringside medical officials examined Mathebula after the fight and said he had a broken tooth. "But the pain persisted when we returned to South Africa," Milenkovic said. Now X-rays have revealed it was caused by more than a broken tooth.
The brave South Africa lost on points his in a unification bout against the WBO super-bantamweight champion.
"It was a bruising fight against one of the leading fighters in the world," Milenkovic said. "Although he surrendered his IBF title, Mathebula emerged with a good deal of credit; particularly now that it has been revealed that he finished the fight with a broken jaw.
"To keep fighting for twelve 12 rounds under such circumstances, against a fighter of Donaire's calibre, was a feat in itself."
The injury is a big blow to Mathebula, who probably would have met Takalani Ndlovu in a return fight. He won the IBF title from Ndolovu last March.
"Mathebula and Ndlovu are still rated among the top ten super-bantamweights in the world," said Milenkovic.
"A return bout between the two seemed a logical proposition, with the winner trying to regain the IBF title, and possibly the WBO title at the same time."
Donaire could try to add the WBA and WBC titles to the WBO and IBF titles he now holds.
"This would create an opening for either Mathebula or Ndlovu but Jeffrey will not be thinking about that for some time now," said Milenkovic.
Donaire won by scores of 117-110, 118-109 and 119-108 but Milenkovic said Mathebula could take comfort from the scoring of other authorities.
"Ring Magazine scored it 116-112, despite Donaire's two-point advantage for a fourth-round knockdown. It made a mockery of the South African judge who gave the fight to the Filipino by nine points."
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