By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Gideon Buthelezi retained his IBO junior-bantamweight belt for the third time on a wide unanimous 12 rounds points decision over Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras at the International Convention Centre in East London on Friday night. Judge Lulama Mtya (S.A.) scored it 118-112 and judges Eddie Pappoe (Ghana) and Patric Mukondwa (Zimbabwe) had it 118-109 and 118-111.
Even though Buthelezi won by wide margins, it was a below par performance by this skillful fighter.
Completely out of character he came out at the first bell throwing right and lefts and engaging with Ponteras from his southpaw stance as he stood toe-to-toe with his opponent. This was alien to his normal fighting style.
The awkward Ponteras continued to press forward throwing wild punches and missing at times through rounds two and three, before Buthelezi reverted to his well-known slick boxing style and began to slip and move inside to pile up the points.
In an untidy fight Buthelezi was in control and knocked the Filipino down to the canvas with right jab followed up by a swing left in the eleventh round and stayed in command through round twelve to take the decision, even though it was not one of his best nights.
Buthelezi improved his record to 20-5; 4 and Ponteras’s record dropped to 20-12-1; 9.
LAMATI WINS IBF I/C TITLE
South African bantamweight champion Ludumo Lamati 12-0-1; 9 from Umtata produced a polished performance when he dominated and completely outclassed the veteran Colombian Luis Melendez 47-11-1; 34 to score a unanimous 12 rounds points decision and claim the vacant IBF Intercontinental junior-featherweight title. Judges Neville Hotz and Sylvia Mokaila both scored it 119-108 and judge Jaap van Nieuwenhuizen had it 120-107. The referee was Deon Dwarte from Cape Town who once again handled the fight in his professional and competent manner.
BALENI RETAINS SA MINIMUMWEIGHT TITLE
In a poor fight Siphamandla Baleni 15-1-1; 6 retained his South African minimumweight title for the second time when he outpointed Bangile Nyangeni 4-1; 3 over twelve uninteresting rounds. Judge Siya Vaza-Booi scored it 117-111 and judges Sheshe Dungwa and Mandisi Mkile handed in cards of 115-113 and 117-114.
The tournament was presented by Ayanda Matiti of Xaba Promotions and Events.