Highs and Lows of SA boxing year- by Ron Jackson
In a year that produced a number of highs
and a good many lows for SA boxers, Simphiwe
Nongqayi and Mlungisi Dlamini were
the leading lights. They will be at the front of
the queue when votes are counted for the SA
boxer of the year 2009.
SA boxers won no fewer than ten “world titles”
in 2009 but not many of them can be
considered for a top-ten rating in the world.
The exceptions are IBF champions Nongqayi
and Moruti Mthalane, who could be ranked in
the top ten of any of the organisations that
Some of the SA “world champions” did not
hold on to their belts for long during a year in
which there were fewer SA title and “world
title” fights than in 2008.
Only 24 national title fights were presented in 2009 after the 29 in the previous year. South Africans were involved in 22 “world title” fights in 2009 after appearing in 27 in 2008. There were no SA title fights in the heavyweight, light-heavyweight and middleweight divisions.
WINNING BELTS FOR SA
In February, Francois Botha won his second
“world title” when he beat American on
Guerrero to win the vacant World Boxing Foundation heavyweight belt.
In March, Takalani Ndlovu won the vacant
World Boxing Foundation featherweight belt.
In April, Zolani Marali won the vacant IBO
junior lightweight belt.
On July 11, Lovemore Ndou, who fights out
of Australia, won the vacant IBO welterweight
belt when he upset Phillip Ndou in Kempton
In August, Isaac Hlatshwayo outpointed
Delvin Rodriguez in Uncasville to win the vacant
IBF welterweight belt.
In September, Simphiwe Nongqayi went to
Mexico and, against the odds, beat Mexico’s
Jorge Arce to win the IBF super flyweight belt.
On October 31, at Emperors Palace,
Mlungisi Dlamini stopped Zolani Marali in the
fourth round to win the vacant IBO lightweight
And in November, Moruti Mtahlane beat
Mexican Julio Cesar Miranda to take the vacant
IBF flyweight belt.
Malcolm Klassen, Marali and Hlatshwayo did not hold on to their belts for long, losing their titles in low-key, disappointing performances. It is also notable that South Africans often challenge for vacant belts.
SA HOLDERS OF WORLD BELTS
South Africans who held “world titles” at the
end of 2009 were:
Moruti Mthalane (IBF flyweight), Mlungisi
Dlamini (IBO lightweight), Simphiwe Nongqayi
(IBF super flyweight), Bongani Mwelase (WBF
junior middleweight), Lovemore Ndou (IBO
welterweight), Simphiwe Vetyeka (IBO bantamweight),
Takalani Ndlovu (WBF featherweight),
Francois Botha (WBF heavyweight),
Lubabalo Msuthu (WBF bantamweight) and William Gare (WBF super middleweight).
Despite unfavourable press reports and concern
over Boxing SA’s financial situation, boxing
in South Africa is still highly regarded abroad.
In the December edition of The Ring, several
SA fighters were rated.
Mzonke Fana was third in the junior lightweight
division, Malcolm Klassen fifth at junior
lightweight, Cassius Baloyi sixth at junior lightweight,
Ali Funeka third among the lightweights,
Jeffrey Mathebula eighth at junior
featherweight, Silence Mabuza sixth in the
bantamweight division, Simphiwe Nongqayi
third among the junior bantamweights,
Moruthi Mthalane ninth and Zolani Tete tenth
at flyweight and Nkosinathi Joyi fourth at
Some of these rankings appeared a little bit on the generous side.
TOP SA PERFORMANCES IN 2009
SA fighters produced several outstanding performances
Ali Funeka was unfortunate in losing a close
decision to Nate Campbell and receiving a disputed
drawn decision against Joan Guzman in
IBF lightweight title fights.
The IBF junior lightweight title fight between
champion Cassius Baloyi and Malcolm Klassen
produced classy boxing and will be a strong
contender for Boxing SA’s fight of the year.
Simphiwe Nongqayi excelled when he beat
Mexican legend Jorge Arce on points to win
the IBF super flyweight belt.
Another outstanding performance was when Moruthi Mthalane won the vacant IBF flyweight belt by outscoring Mexican Julio Cesar Miranda.
FIGHTERS FOR THE FUTURE
Among the promising boxers who impressed
during the year were Jason Bedeman and
Probably the most promising SA fighter is
mini-flyweight Nkosinathi Joyi, who was inactive
in 2009 but is good enough to fight for a
belt offered by one of the major organisations.
Unbeaten super middleweight Thomas
Oosthuizen has shown a lot of promise and is
another one to be watched in 2010.
However, the standard of boxing in national title fights left a lot to be desired. The quality of the challengers also caused concern, as did the officiating in some fights.
BEST AND WORST OF SA BOXING IN
The unofficial “awards list” reflects the year’s
successes and failures in SA boxing.
Boxer of the Year: Simphiwe Nongqayi and
Mlungisi Dlamini, jointly.
Fight of the Year: Malcolm Klassen v Cassius Baloyi and Sabelo Jubatha v Luthando Vukuza, jointly
Prospect of the Year: Thomas Oosthuizen.
Trainer of the Year: Gert Strydom.
Ring Official of the Year: Siya Vabaza.
Promoter of the Year: Jeff Ellis, who also did outstanding work for charity with his boxand-dine tournaments.
Punch of the Year: André Thysse, who made a comeback after being out for 32
months, knocked out Emmanuel Duma with a spectacular blow in the fifth round at Emperors Palace.
Disappointment of the Year: Vusi Malinga