Malinga was forced to travel to Leeds to take on Stuart Hall for the vacant IBF bantamweight title while Mathebula had to step into a ring in Spain to try and reclaim the IBF super-bantamweight crown.
But both failed in their attempts as Malinga suffered a wide points loss to Hall to make it a case of third time unlucky as he failed in yet another attempt to be able to call himself a fully-fledged world champion.
Mathebula had worse luck as he wilted in nine rounds from the sustained pressure by defending champion Kiko Martinez and was eventually stopped.
Malinga had been given an opportunity to try and replicate the feats of his uncle Sugar Boy who famously travelled to the UK in 1996 and claimed Nigel Benn’s WBC super-middleweight crown but he failed to emulate the feat.
Having shown that he is a tough customer in the past, his fight against boxing’s rising star Leo Santa Cruz for the same belt in California last year immediately springs to mind, Malinga hung around for 12 rounds but the judges all gave wide margins in favour of Hall.
At the end of the encounter the ringside judges posted scores of 116-111 and two totals of 117-110 to give the belt to the Englishman.
The judges in Mathebula’s fight weren’t needed as the 34-year-old failed to use a clear height and reach advantage to keep the heavy-hitting Spaniard Martinez at bay and instead was left kneeling on the canvas after a left hook in the ninth.
Mathebula was attempting to win back the belt he surrendered to Nonito Donaire in Los Angeles last year when attempting to unify with the division’s WBO title, and at the age of 34 his time as a professional looks to be running out.
The same could be said for Malinga who is the same age and his hopes of a world championship strap may have faded after this loss.