Non Aggression - by Pete Moscardi (at ringside)
Windhoek 29 May, Paulus Moses was not, unlike his legendary biblical namesake, able to pull out any miracles when making his second defence of his WBA lightweight title against the hard hitting Venezuelan challenger, Miguel Acosta. The Red Sea remained unparted, but Moses’ unbeaten record and his ‘world’ title were rent asunder by the heavy-handed fists of Acosta which deposited him in an untidy heap on the canvas in the sixth round.
The shattering defeat inflicted upon the champion by the power punching of Acosta was not the predicted outcome of this fight, and the result left a stunned crowd of around 4 000 of his faithful followers, who had packed into a marquee in a downtown car park in this Namibian capital city, asking themselves where it all went wrong.
But this was a fight, promoted by ex fighter, Nestor Tobias’ Sunshine Productions, which proved to be a no-win situation for the champion. From the start there were ominous signs of foreboding when the two fighters fronted off when receiving the pre-fight instructions from Panamanian referee, Gustavo Padilla. Acosta’s upper body physique had the appearance of a well built welterweight, and his ripped abdominal muscles and powerful arms and shoulders glistened with sweat from his pre ring entry dressing room warm-up. Moses, in contrast, looked tight and his skin was bone dry – a sure sign suggesting that he had neglected to warm up before entering the ring. There was also a tense and apprehensive look about the champion.
Moses showed his hand from the first bell – and it proved to be a hand that he would not or could not alter. It soon became obvious that there was no Plan B in place. Moses spent the first three rounds on the back foot as Acosta stalked after him, working behind a solid left jab and the occasional follow-up right. The number of punches being thrown by the champion in each of the first three rounds could be counted on one hand. A decent right landed by the champion in the third failed to deter the advancing South American, whose power looked threatening. But what was most ominous was that hardly a single counter was coming back from Moses, whose sole strategy looked designed to utilise some neat footwork and a tight cover-up defence to stay away from trouble.
The crowd had fallen strangely silent, but erupted vociferously when the champion showed the occasional signs of life and fight in the fourth round by countering with single or one-two combinations to the head. But, at the same time, Acosta had upped the ante and was landing more punches on his elusive target. The fifth round was much of the same, and although Moses raised a roar from the crowd every time he threw a punch, the ones that were landing were not troubling the Venezuelan at all. Acosta’s combinations, on the other hand, had menace written all over them.
The pattern of this fight was continuing along these same lines in the sixth when a solid right cross to the temple sent Moses sprawling in an untidy heap by the ropes. He pulled himself into a sitting position and watched intently, staring into the eyes of referee Padilla, without making any effort to get to his feet as the count was tolled at 2.17 into the round. It would be unjust to describe the champion’s uninspiring attempt to defend his title as a “no-mas”. But it was certainly reminiscent of someone who had taken an oath to abide by the dictates of a non-aggression pact. The defeat saw the first loss on a previously unbeaten record, which now drops down to 26-1, while Acosta improved his statistics to 27-3-2.
In the main supporting contest, billed as a Commonwealth eliminator and a fight for the WBO Africa interim welterweight title, Tyson Uushona retained his WBO strap by outclassing Philip Kotey from Ghana over 12 one-sided rounds. The outcome of this fight was never in doubt as Uushona went about giving a masterful display of box-fighting for which a brave Kotey had no answer. The Ghanaian lumbered after Uushona, throwing big but slow and ponderous punches which the clever Namibian had little trouble avoiding. Uushona replied with rapid-fire two-fisted bursts of punches which thudded into the head and body of Kotey. The gutsy Ghanaian was staggered in almost every round, but Uushona lacked the power to finish off the fight which was refereed by the South African official, Thabo Spampoel. Uushona came out the winner with scores of 119-108; 118-109 and 116- 111 while seeing his record improve to 23-4-1, while Kotey’s statistics dropped to 20-5-1.
In a second Commonwealth eliminator for the flyweight title, Namibia’s Abmerk Shindjuu had little trouble in disposing of Tanzania’s Juma Fundi with a twofisted barrage of punches in the fourth, which ended matters at 1.49 into the round. The fight had been a lively affair until the KO, but one in which Shindjuu retained control of throughout. Shindjuu improved his record to 8-3-2, while Fundi’s drops to 11-5.
In an international bantamweight contest, the impressive and unbeaten Namibian, Paulus “The Rock” Ambunda, was too powerful and aggressive for his gutsy South African opponent, Sipho Nkadimeng, who bravely saw out the eight rounds distance but was forced to take an eight count in the sixth and fight with cuts over both eyes from the fourth. Nkadimeng gave it his best shot, but the scores of 80-70 on all three judges’ cards were a true reflection of the pattern of this fight. Ambunda improves his unbeaten record to 12-0, while Nkadimeng’s record falls to 9-3-1.