By Ron Jackson
Akani Phuzi retained his WBA Pan African cruiserweight title on a hard-earned majority 12 round point’s decision over the vastly more experienced Willbeforce Shihepo before a packed to the capacity Blairgowrie Recreation Centre on Sunday afternoon. The judges scored it 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114.
In what was a grueling affair against Shihepo (25-11, 18 KOs), who knew all the tricks of a wily old veteran, he closed down the 25-year-old champion at times and made him work for victory which augurs well for his future career.
Shihepo (87.90kg) came out fast at the opening bell to surprise the champion and to scored with some big lefts and rights to the head to take the round.
The challenger was warned at the end of round one and two for hitting after the bell and received stern warnings from referee Simon Mokadi who did a fine job controlling fight with the ring wise Sihepo using all the tricks he had learnt over his long career.
There was very little in it for the first six rounds with Phuzi (9-0, 4 KOs) taking a slight lead.
Shihepo was in the fight through the next five and rounds and finished strongly to take the final round.
However, this was not enough in the eyes of two judges as Phuzi (90.65kg) emerged a popular winner in front of his home crowd.
BANGILE NYANGANI WINS VACANT AFRICAN BOXING SADC TITLE
In the main supporting bout Bangile Nyangani (47.50kg) won the vacant African Boxing Union SADC mini-flyweight with a wide unanimous ten round point’s decision over the gutsy Oscar Richard (47.52kg) from Tanzania. The scores were 99-91 on all three judges’ scorecards.
It was interesting to note that all three African Boxing Union judges wore earmuffs to block out any sounds from the audience that would influence their judgement.
This is a positive step in the right direction and could be adopted by the other world boxing organizations.
The tournament was presented by Sandile Xaka of Supreme Boxing Promotions.
Welterweight: Yaseen Domingo beat Cecil Maluleke, rsf 4; Junior-bantamweight: Trevor Nghonyama beat Mxolisi Masina, rsf 4; Junior-lightweight: Jeff Magagane beat Paul Mangxilana, pts 8; Junior-bantamweight: Sikho Nqothole beat Thulani Gumede, tko 2.
The tournament was presented Sandile Xaka of Supreme Boxing Promotions.