The city of Durban was animated on Saturday afternoon, when not only International Boxing returned in their town but their son Mthalane also returned. Amidst the festivities of traditional dancing, the KZN Boxers fought brave-heartedly and the ones that lost went down in honour. It took Moruti Mthalane 12 rounds and a swollen left eyebrow to win the vacant IBO title belt. He beat Jeta Oliva of Philippines with a split decision. Mthalane won the fight by sticking to basics and by absorbing Jeta’s punches by his defence and scoring with cleaner punches. Many attributed Mthalane’s non-performance to ring rust and unorthodox style of Jeta Oliva.
Mthalane suffered a swelling on his left eyebrow as early as round two. This was the same eyebrow that cost him his fight against Nonito Donaire. Credit goes to Nick Durandt for showing why he is regarded as one of the best trainers in the Boxing trade when he managed the swelling in Mthalane’s eye until the end of the fight. This was something that did not show in the earlier bout when Andile Mntungwa lost TKO while he was fighting with one eye due to his corner’s failure to manage the swelling on his left eye. If it was not for his defence and unscrupulous time keeping, Mthalane would have suffered a knockdown against the Pilipino. There was a time when the Supersport tv time was showing seconds left before the end of the round, and the time keeper ringed the bell. It was clear that time that Mthalane was under pressure from a 26 year old Pilipino Flyweight champion.
The judges could not reach an agreement on the score cards and therefore Mthalane won by a split decision. The judge from Philippines gave the fight to Oliva by 113 to 115, while the South African judge scored the fight 117 to 112 in favour of Mthalane. The judge that cleared the dispute was from the United Kingdom and he scored the fight 116 to 112 in favour of Mthalane. Mthalane finished a fight on a very high note and that led to the other two judges being convinced that he was the winner.
On the main Supporting bout a sluggish Christopher Buthelezi retained his middleweight South African title by a Unanimous decision win over Giovani Bushby. Buthelezi’s trump card was the work rate while Bushby was let down by doing a lot of dancing and throwing fewer telling blows. It was a question of the challenger not taking the fight to the champion, and the judges scored the fight 120 – 111, 117 – 111, and 120 – 108 all in favour of Buthelezi. With the right coaching, Bushby looks as the future champion of the division as it is clear that Buthelezi’s career is nearing the end at the age of 42. Bushby was fighting only his 8th fight while Buthelezi has 37 fights under his name.
Other bouts, Mxolisi Nombewu won an easy points decision over Sizwe Mthembu. Nombewu used his ring craft and scored body blows to a dancing and smiling Mthembu who did little to challenge Nombewu. Mxolisi Nombewu is surely a name to be watched in the Bantam weight division and has now fought 11 fights, with 5 wins, 5 losses and a single draw. The five losses he had were against high profile opponents such as Mahlangu, Ngema, and Mbhele.
On the other fight Jared Silverman Won TKO 7 over Andile Mntungwa. Silverman’s corner protested after round 6 as they claimed to have signed a contract for only 6 rounds. This reflected bad professionalism from the matchmaker and the promotional management team. Nick Durandt and his boxer, knowing that they were ahead on points, continued regardless of the contracts mishap. Fighting a one eyed Mntungwa was not a problem for Silverman as he took a risk and it paid off when he scored a 7th round knockout.
The fights were promoted by the Ludhonga Promotion in conjunction with the KZN Department of Sports and Recreation.