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Boxing | South Africa

Chris van Heerden and Matthew Hatton © Gallo Images

Van Heerden retains IBO title

Chris van Heerden retained his IBO welterweight title when he beat Matthew Hatton on points on Saturday night.

The South African, bleeding from a cut above the right eye for most of the fight at the Sandton Convention Centre near Johannesburg, won 118-110, 117-112 and 116-112.

Hatton did nothing to explain why he is nicknamed Magic but he probably did much to enhance Van Heerden’s boxing education.

The challenger, 31, turned the fight into a disappointing affair by tying the less experienced, 24-year-old champion into knots, holding, clinching and hitting behind the head, and using his head in more ways than one.

Referee Howard Forster of the United Kingdom had almost as much work to do as Van Heerden, who did most of the attacking but hardly ever had the Englishman in serious trouble.

The southpaw champion failed to keep Hatton at a distance and seldom used his left hand as effectively as his supporters may have expected. But he did land a number of solid right uppercuts during the early rounds to earn Hatton’s respect.

It was, as expected, the most difficult fight of Van Heerden’s career. The Meyerton mauler showed courage to overcome the constant bleeding. Taller, bigger and stronger than former world champion Ricky Hatton’s brother, he certainly gained in experience.

The 25-year-old Van Heerden improved his record to 19-1-1 with 10 knockouts as Hatton’s dropped to 34-7-2; 17.

Van Heerden, nicknamed The Heat, had won the vacant IBO title on September 24 2011 when he beat Kaizer Mabuza.

He retained the title against Sebastian Andres Lujan from Argentina in June last year, also winning on points over 12 rounds.


On the undercard, Matty Clarkson impressed when he stopped SA light-heavyweight champion Tshepang Mohale in the seventh round, writes RON JACKSON.

Clarkson, from Preston in England, dropped the South African for a count early in the fight and dominated throughout. He backed Mohale into a corner in the seventh round and attacked until referee Wally Snowball stopped the bout 2 minutes 51 seconds into the round.

Clarkson, who weighed 82.96 kg, improved his record to 9-1-2, with 2 knockouts. Mohale (81.26 kg) now stands at 9-6; 8.

In a battle of former “world” champions, Kaizer Mabuza beat Isaac Hlatshwayo on points in a welterweight bout – 78-74 on two cards and 79-73.

Mabuza, a former IBO junior welterweight champion who had lost twice to Hlatshwayo, weighed 65.88 kg and improved his record to 25-9-3, with 16 knockouts.

Hlatshwayo, a former IBO lightweight and welterweight champion, came in at 66.66 kg and dropped to 30-6-1, with one no-contest and 16 knockouts.

In a mauling six-round heavyweight battle former SA champion Osborne Machimana (125 kg) was rather fortunate to get a majority draw against Elvis Moyo (112.30 kg) from Zimbabwe. The scores were 58-56 and 57-57 on the two other cards.

Machimana improved his record to 18-7-2; 13 and Moyo now stands at 3-4-2; 0.

In the opening bout, welterweight Mthobisi Buthelezi (66. 24 kg) knocked out Lobanda Batale (65.74 kg) from the Democratic Republic of Cong 2 minutes 48 seconds into the second round.

The tournament was presented by Damien Michael of Showpony Promotions.


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