By Ron Jackson
After 13 months out of action, South Africa’s Simphiwe Khonco knocked off the ring rust to out-think and outbox Filipino Toto Landero when he scored a unanimous 12 round points decision to retain his IBO minimumweight belt at the OR Tambo Hall in Mthatha on Sunday afternoon
Judge Lulama Mtya (South Africa) scored it 117-112 and judges John Shipanuka (Zambia) and Patrick Mokondiwa both had it 116-112.
There was very little action in the first two rounds with both fighters tentative and working for openings.
Landero (47.40kg) tended to drop his hands at times and was caught with right hooks to the head in rounds three and four with Khonco (sometimes spelt Simpiwe Konco) possibly shading the rounds.
Fighting from behind a tight defence throughout Khonco (47.60kg) proved too slick for Landero who threw wild punches and missed badly throughout the fight.
The Filipino possibly did enough share a couple of rounds and possibly also shaded the last two rounds against his ten year older opponent who was tiring and fighting with his mouth open.
However, it was a good performance by the South African against an opponent who took WBA minimumweight champion Thammanoon Niyontrong (16-0) all the way in March this year.
Khonco improved his record to 19-5; 7 and Landero’s record dropped 10-3-2; 2.
On the undercard in a clash for the vacant IBO International bantamweight title, Jonas Matheus from Namibia outpointed South Africa’s Makazole Tete over 12 rounds and in a women’s IBO Inter-Continental bantamweight title fight Sharadene Fortuin and Asandiswa Nxokwana fought to a ten round draw for the vacant title.