By Ron Jackson
Azinga Fuzile from Duncan Village in the Eastern Cape, who is considered South Africa’s greatest prospect, learned a harsh lesson and found out that you do not play boxing. He was stopped in the eighth round by Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov of Tajikstan in an IBF junior lightweight title eliminator at a packed to capacity Orient Theatre in East London on Sunday afternoon.
The time was 2 minutes 26 seconds.
In a battle of southpaws the 23-year-old Fuzile spent most of the early rounds smiling at his opponent and fighting from behind a dropped shoulder trying to imitate Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The opening round was possibly shared as Rakhimov, 25, pushed the slick boxing South African on to the back foot.
In an explosive second round, Fuzile scored with a good shot to the body and then landed a low blow that sent Rakhimov down. After the referee had warned Fuzile, the angered Rakhimov then stormed in with a blatant head butt and received a stern warning from referee Deon Dwarte.
From then on the fight settled down with Rakhimov pushing forward and trying to land with his explosive left hand.
This was the pattern of the fight but then the South African resorted to bending low and holding which was out of character.
In round eight the marauding Rakhimov knocked Fuzile down to the canvas with a big left to the jaw. Fuzile managed to beat the count as the referee appeared to give more than enough time to recover.
However, the South African was still groggy and the Russian never let him off the hook landing with an explosive left to the body and two shots to the head that sent Fuzile down on his face. Realizing that Fuzile was in a bad way the referee waved the fight off.
Rakhimov improved his record to 15-0, 12 KOs, and Fuzile’s record dropped to 14-1, 8 KOs.
Ronald Malindi retained his South African bantamweight title with a 12 round points decision over Michael Daries.
Ayabonga Sonjica beat Innocent Mantengu on a wide unanimous point’s decision to win the South African junior featherweight title over 12 rounds.
Luyanda Ntwanambe won on points over 12 rounds against Fikile Mlonyeni in a bout for the vacant WBO Africa flyweight title.