By Ron Jackson
South Africa’s Kevin Lerena won the vacant IBO Intercontinental heavyweight title on a twelve round unanimous points decision against Mariusz Wach from Poland, in a bout that never rose to any heights at the Emperors Palace near Kempton Park on Saturday night,
Judge Tony Nyangiwe scored it 118-110 and judges Patrick Mukondwa and John Shipanuka both had it 120-108.
Referee Deon Dwarte did a fine job in what was an easy night’s work.
There is no doubt that Lerena won the fight, but the wide margins were not a true reflection of the fight as the visitor won a few rounds even though there was not much power in his shots.
With massive height and reach advantages Wach (121.52kg) was able to score with his jab and long right hand throughout against the much smaller and lighter Lerena (106kg).
Through the first three to five rounds Wach was able to score with ponderous left and the odd right-hand shots.
The southpaw Lerena battled with the size of his opponent but was able land with stinging shots to the head, but at no time was the visitor in trouble as he plodded forward.
This was the pattern of the fight through to the final round with neither fighter dominating and in the last round it was two tired fighters and Lerena with a reddened face who battled it out to the bell, with the South African having scored the cleaner shots emerging as the winner.
Even though Wach was nearly 43 –years old this was a harsh introduction for the 30-year-old Lerena to what heavyweight boxing is all about.
Lerena improved his record to 28-1, 14 KOs and Wach’s record dropped to 36-10, 19 KOs.
LUSANDA KOMANISI WINS SA LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE
In a grueling encounter, Lusanda Kominisi (61.79Kg) won the South African lightweight title on points over 12 entertaining rounds on a unanimous points decision against the defending champion Tshifhiwa Munyai (61;15kg) in the main supporting bout.
Judges Thabo Spampool and David van Niewenhuizen scored it 115-112 and 114-113 and judge Pumezi Zinake had it a rather wide 117-110.
Both fighters came out throwing punches at the opening bell and there was a clash of heads just before the end of the round, which became the pattern throughout the fight with both fighters’ intent on attack.
In the seventh round, Munyai landed a rabbit punch behind the neck that sent Komanisi down on his knees which the referee incorrectly ruled as a knock down and gave a count.
In the last two rounds, both fighters were beginning to show signs of wear and as they slugged it out to the final bell with Komanisi emerging as the winner and claiming the title.
Welterweight: Keanu Koopman W tko 2 Caiphus Manale.
Flyweight: Beaven Sibanda W pts 4 Mfanuvale Ntuli.
Bantamweight: Ricardo Malajika W rsf 2 Arnel Lubisi.
Heavyweight: Keaton Gomes W rsf 1 Danny Ngokwe.
The tournament was presented by Golden Gloves Promotions.