SA Trio win in Bloemfontein - by Pete Moscardi

Three South African boxers, namely Bongani Mwelase, William Gare and Mlungisi Dlamini won their WBF title fights against international opponents on this Robs promotions bill at the Mangaung Indoor Centre, but only the veteran Gare came up with a performance that was anywhere near to being impressive.

Mlungisi “The Shark” Dlamini retained his WBF lightweight strap with a unanimous points decision over his experienced challenger from the Dominican Republic by way of the US, Francisco Lorenzo. Lorenzo is a fighter who can lay claim to having been in the elite world class bracket, with wins over Nate Campbell and Cristobal Cruz. In his most recent fight he took the much vaunted Humberto Soto to a 12 rounds points decision loss. But against the relatively inexperienced Dlamini he disappointed, failing to exploit the limitations of his South African opponent.

Dlamini had a marked height and reach advantage and a clash of styles turned this fight into an untidy and messy maul from the start. Both tried to fight on the inside, and with Dlamini’s long arms getting entwined in the shorter arms of his opponent, referee Eddie Marshall spent a great deal of time trying to prise apart the two contestants. Lorenzo threw punches in bunches, but was guilty of punching
with the inside of the glove and although he was frequently finding the target, his
blows lacked power. There was little in Lorenzo’s performance to reflect his world
class status. Dlamini struggled to find an answer to Lorenzo’s swarming and awkward tactics which were frequently interspersed with spoiling and laying on. There were no outstanding incidents in a fight which failed to live up to expectations and it was Dlamini’s pressure in the latter rounds when the visitor was visibly tiring that gave him the decision by over-generous scores of 115-111; 115-113 and 115-112. Dlamini’s unbeaten record improved to 20-0-1 while Lorenzo’s statistics dipped to 34-6-0.

The ageless 34-year-old William Gare had to call on all his experience, guile and
cunning to retain his WBF super-middleweight title against his unbeaten and
dangerous Mexican opponent, Rigoberto Alvarez. Gare was pushed all the way by
his aggressive and hard punching opponent who brought out the best in the
cagey veteran. Although Alvarez had never fought outside his native Mexico –
and all his 22 wins, 18 inside, had come against Mexican opponents – there was
no doubting the class of the visitor.

Alvarez, a balding and well muscled southpaw, looked menacing from the
start. Gare got off to a good start when a right hook to the chin, which landed when Alvarez was going backward, put his opponent on the canvas for eight. The Mexican was not hurt and it was a flash knockdown which, nevertheless, gave
Gare a 10-8 round.

The pattern of the fight did not alter from round two through to the end. Alvarez
would crowd Gare, throwing mean looking bombs and backing him into the ropes. The cagey Gare was content to allow Alvarez to pursue these tactics as he covered up, smothered the punches and countered crisply with his own neat combinations. At times Gare went onto the offensive and was successful in putting Alvarez onto the back foot with some perfectly timed combinations. But the South African always had to show respect for Alvarez’ punching power. Gare was marked up under the eyes, but finished the stronger and was handing out a boxing lesson over the last three rounds in a fight which was more of a chess match than an all out slugfest. The unanimous decision in favour of Gare came by scores of a way out 118-110, 115-112 and 118-113. The win takes Gare’s record to 26-14-1.

The disappointment of the night was the unconvincing points victory scored by
a sloppy and grossly out of condition Bongani Mwelase over his ultra game Hungarian opponent, Attila Kovacs. Mwelase brought his unbeaten record to 14-0 with the win and won the vacant WBF juniormiddleweight title, but looked dreadful
doing it. This was a shadow of the once formidable fighter who, as a welterweight, had looked devastating in winning the South African title from Lucky Lewele in a
blistering fight. The southpaw Mwelase, who looked like a giant towering over his
much smaller opponent, looked soft in the body and had obviously not paid much attention to his training.

It was almost unbelievable that these two fighters had registered very similar
weights. Mwelase rumbled forwards forcing Kovacs to fight off the back foot in the first, but the Hungarian responded with some crisp left hooks to the head which
got Mwelase’s attention. Although Mwelase looked the heavier puncher his
punches were ponderous and cumbersome. By the fourth round Mwelase’s mouth was gaping open and he was looking out of puff and, although he was the aggressor, the gutsy Kovacs was fighting back courageously. Kovacs was down for
eight in both the fifth and 11th rounds but on each occasion he fought back with
gusto. The Hungarian nearly caused an upset in the sixth when he was all over a
badly tiring Mwelase and, had he had any resemblance of a punch, the result could
have been very different. The South African was hard pressed to survive a gallant
Kovacs’ two fisted attack. The South African, who finished with both eyes badly
swollen, pulled the fight out by the very generous scores of 118-111; 117-111 and
115-112. But anything over two points would have done the visitor an injustice.
Kovacs saw his record slip to 25-4-0.

Another once promising South African fighter who seems to have totally lost the
plot is the once formidable former South African middleweight champion Kgotso
Motau. The southpaw Motau, who was defending his current South African supermiddleweight crown against a tall and menacing looking opponent, Tshepang
Mohale, was well beaten in a wild slugfest which sent the crowd hysterical with excitement.

Although Motau carries a vicious punch, and won his first 11 fights by early KO, he
has today become completely gun shy and with little punch resistance. Motau
was on the deck four times, saved by the bell on at least three occasions and, although he had his opponent down for a count in the second round, he ran out a
clear loser – being lucky to have managed to last the distance. The new South
African super-middleweight champion improved his record to 6-2-0 (5) while
Motau’s record dropped to 15-3-0.