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Boxing | South Africa

Jeffrey Mathebula (R) and Takalani Ndlovu © Gallo Images

Mathebula wins high-class battle

Jeffrey Mathebula beat Takalani Ndlovu on points in their IBF junior featherweight title eliminator at Carnival City, Brakpan, on Saturday night.

The scores after an enthralling battle were 116-112 on each of the cards.

Fighting on the Branco Sports Productions annual African Glory bill, the two veterans brought more than a touch of class to the tournament.

Both showed excellent hand speed, balance, ring craft and a high work rate as the battle unfolded.

Mathebula, having added “Marvelous” to his nickname of Mongoose, was a little slower out of the blocks than The Panther but was in full stride by the third round and got his nose in front towards the end of the bout.

The two treated the spectators to high-class entertainment, mostly picking their shots well and maintaining the pace right to the end. There were no knockdowns, although they went down in a tangle twice.

The referee was Joe Cooper from the US and the judges Grzegorz Molenda from Poland, Alfred Buqwana and Neville Hotz, both from South Africa.

Mathebula improved his professional record to 27-4-2, with 14 shortcut wins. Ndlovu left the ring with a record of 33-9; 18.

Their two previous bouts also ended in close decisions. Ndlovu, now 35 years old, won on a split decision when they first met in September 2010. In the rematch on March 21 last year, Mathebula, now 33, won on a split decision.


On the undercard, South African Vusi Malinga improved to 21-4-1, including 13 knockouts, when he beat Diarh Gabutan (now 18-2-2; 9) of the Philippines on points to set himself up for a IBF bantamweight title challenge.

The scores were: 117-111 (Neville Hotz, SA), 116-112 (Sylvia Mokaila, SA) and 115-113 (Joe Cooper, US).

Malinga, 33, who has held the SA bantamweight and WBC international bantamweight titles, took control in the first round but failed to produce the early knockout that seemed imminent throughout.

The 24-year-old Gabutan did not enhance his country’s reputation for producing outstanding champions. He landed too few scoring blows to win more than a couple of rounds and took heavy punishment. But he somehow stayed on his feet even in a torrid eighth round.

Gabutan, bleeding from cuts near the right eye, eventually took a count in the tenth round as the stronger Malinga kept up the pressure.

The referee was Grzegorz Molenda.


The fight between Patrick Malinga and Thompson Mokwana for the SA lightweight title ended in a draw after scoring that would have been laughable had it not been such a serious matter.

Two of the scores, as announced from the ring, differed by 14 points. Judge Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen scored it 114-114 but Simon Xamlashi had it 119-110 for Malinga and Simon Mokadi 117-112 for Mokwana, leaving the title still vacant.

The boxers probably confused the judges by showing no appreciation of the art of self-defence but the boxing authorities are likely to take another look at the scorecards.

Veteran Zolani Tete made a delightful return when he knocked out Eduard Penerio of the Philippines in 2 minutes 37 seconds in a junior bantamweight bout.

Penerio took several huge blows from the South African southpaw before a left-right combination left him in distress on the canvas; in need of medical attention. Even Tete’s trainer, Nick Durandt, was seriously concerned as the little visitor remained down for several minutes.

Penerio’s record dropped to 16-16-1; 10 and Tete’s improved to 20-16-3, with 15 knockouts.

Earlier Shannon Strydom beat Gideon Mathe in a junior welterweight bout when referee Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen stopped the bout before the start of the third round of a fight scheduled for four.

Strydom improved his record to 2-0; 1 and Mathe dropped to 0-4-1; 0. The referee was Thabo Spampool.


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