Knapp wins toe-to-toe war for ABU title

By Ron Jackson

In an epic toe-to-toe encounter, Roarke Knapp (14-1-1, 11 KOs) beat Brandon Thysse (14-3-1, 12 KOs) on a twelve round split decision in their rematch at Emperors Palace, near Kempton Park on Saturday night to win the vacant African Boxing Union junior middleweight title. Knapp, who was stopped in the seventh round to suffer his only defeat against Thysse in their first fight, was much sharper as he weathered an early storm in the opening round to punch out a deserved decision.

Judges Kedibone Phetlho and Mfundo Mvandaba scored it 115-114 and 116-112 for Knapp and judge Thabo Spampool had 115-113 for Thysse.

The slugfest continued through round two with Thysse (69.55kg) possibly shading it. However, Knapp (69.80kg) came back well in rounds three and four with both fighters throwing bombs.

In the fifth round the toe-to-toe action continued and Thysse landed a big uppercut just before the bell that sent Knapp’s head jolting back.

With his faster hand speed Knapp continued to beat Thysse to the punch in rounds six and seven but the gutsy Thysse came back in the later rounds to close the gap, but this was not enough on two of the judge’s scorecards as Knapp emerged a winner.


In a poor fight that never rose to any heights, a well-conditioned Chris Thompson (104.85kg) outscored Joshua Pretorius (106.45kg) over twelve one-sided rounds to win the South African and African Boxing Union heavyweight titles.

Judges Namhla Tyuluba, Ben Ncapi and Mfundo Mvandaba all scored it 120-108 for the new champion.

Pretorius, who was making the first defense of his title, never got into the fight – or past the southpaw jab of Thompson. The shorter Pretorius only threw a few tentative punches throughout the 12 rounds and did not know how to handle a southpaw.

Thompson improves his record to 12-2-1, 7 KOs, and Pretorius’s record drops to 9-6, 5 KOs.


Mini flyweight – Beaven Sibanda W rsf 1 Bandile Leopeng.
Light heavyweight – Gerhard Thysse W tko 2 Penitence Duma.
Welterweight- Keanu Koopman W rsf 1 Bongani Ngqubuka.
Junior lightweight – Samuel Taki W rsf 2 Mandlenkosi Sibuso.
Lightweight – Saziswe Simon W pts 4 Yolanda Gelderblom (woman’s fight).

The tournament was presented by Golden Gloves Promotions.

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    • One Eye: Hard to make anything work in SA, since the days the so called ‘liberators’ took over. Had to happen to be fair probably, but everything has gone so downhill since.
      Politics aside, Rugby works in SA, the talent of the players are on international level so the public wants to see their matches. The TV broadcaster pays to show their matches, the players still get paid well, which attracts more young and talented local players into the sport.
      Still very good talent in SA boxing but not anywhere as much as in the earlier years you mention. Our weak SA Rand vs e.g. strong US $ makes it so expensive for our fighters – To pay good international boxers to fight in SA or expensive for our SA boxers to travel, accommodation overseas.

  • Knapp vs Thysse was a really good fight! Well done to both of them on their performance. Bring in international opponents that these two can prove themselves against going forward. Let the local crowd can have their local SA heroes they can cheer for.

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