By Ron Jackson
It has not been a good year for South African boxing with the reduction in the number of promotions around the country and the reduction in the number of active boxers.
South Africa’s foremost boxing statistician Andre de Vries has presented a statistical chart showing that between the years 1990 and 2009 a total of 4103 boxers entered the professional ranks and made their debuts. In the same period a total of 4623 boxers retired from the sport – indicating a net loss of 520 licenced fighters. The biggest net loss occurred last year when a total of 305 boxers retired against 108 making their debut – giving a net loss of 197. In Boxing South Africa’s latest ratings, some 192 boxers are listed as being active.
Only four South African fighters Hekkie Budler, Nkosinathi Joyi, Gideon Buthelezi and Mzonke Fana managed to win a “world title” compared to ten in 2009.
At the end of the year seven South African fighters have claim to one or other world organisation belt.
They are William Gare (WBF super middleweight), Mzonke Fana (IBF junior lightweight), Lubabalo Msutu (WBF bantamweight), Moruti Mthalane (IBF flyweight), Nkosinathi Joyi (IBF mini flyweight), Hekkie Budler (IBO junior flyweight) and Gideon Buthelezi (IBO strawweight).
However, despite holding so called world titles, on closer inspection one must ask whether any of them can be ranked among the top ten in the world in their divisions, let alone be called world champions. The exceptions however could be IBF champions Moruti Mthalane and and Nkosinathi Joyi who could be ranked in the top ten of any organisation.
In the December issue of The Ring magazine Moruti Mthalane is ranked at number seven and Joyi at number two and Mzonke Fana at a rather high number one.
There were 25 SA title fights in 2010 and only 13 “world” title fights involving South Africans.
There were no SA title fights in the super middleweight, welterweight and minimumweight divisions.
This is how they ranked in the honours:
In February Hekkie Budler beat Juanito Rubillar from the Philippines to win the vacant International Boxing Organisation junior flyweight belt.
In March Nkosinathi Joyi won the International Boxing Federation mini flyweight belt when he outpointed champion Raul Garcia of Mexico.
In June Gideon Buthelezi won the vacant International Boxing Organisation strawweight belt when he outscored Filipino Ronelle Ferreras over 12 rounds.
In September Mzonke Fana regained the International Boxing Federation junior lightweight belt when he outclassed Cassius Baloyi in a clash for the vacant belt and Moruti Mthalane was in outstanding form with a fifth round stoppage win over Zolani Tete to retain his International Boxing Federation flyweight belt.
Also in September Australian based South African Lovemore Ndou was far too experienced for fellow South African Bongani Mwelase and in a closely fought contest he retained his International Boxing Organisation welterweight belt.
Most of these so-called world titles are not worth much in world terms. The champions can at best be called only belt holders.
It is significant that South Africans often challenge for vacant belts.
Unfortunately Ali Funeka lost in a challenge for the vacant IBF lightweight belt against Joan Guzman from the Dominican Republic. Francois Botha and Simphiwe Nongqayi both lost their belts on stoppages.
Despite poor press and the state of the game in South Africa some local fighters are still highly regarded in world terms as shown in the December rankings of The Ring magazine. The following are rated: Kaizer Mabuza (junior welterweight 7), Ali Funeka (lightweight 4), Cassius Baloyi (junior lightweight 10), Jeffrey Mathebula (junior featherweight 5).
Other than Moruti Mthalane, Kaizer Mabuza and Nkosinathi Joyi there were no really outstanding performances by South African fighters in 2010.
Among the promising fighters who impressed during the year were Flo Simba, Sabelo Jubatha, Macbute Sinyabi and Unathi Gqokoma,
The standard of boxing in some national title fights also 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 2010
Here is an unofficial “awards list” that reflects the year’s South African successes and failures.
Boxer of the Year: Mzonke Fana and Nkosinathi Joyi jointly.
Fight of the Year: The junior lightweight clash between Jody Stiglingh and Warren Joubert with Stiglingh taking a split decision.
Prospect of the Year: Joey Stiglingh.
Trainer of the Year: Elias Tshabalala and Nick Durandt jointly.
Ring Official of the Year: Deon Dwarte.
Promoter of the Year: Rodney Berman.
Punch of the Year: The devastating right hand by Zimbabwean Tineyi Maridzo that knocked out Mikey Schultz in the third round of their fight for the WBO Africa super middleweight title.
Disappointment of the Year: Ali Funeka’a loss to Joan Guzman who came in well over the weight limit in their fight for the vacant IBF lightweight belt.
Chin of the Year: Elvis Moyo from Zimbabwe who became the only fighter to take Flo Simba the distance when he withstood a six round battering at Emperors Palace, Kempton Park in June.
Most Improved Fighter of the Year: Sipho Taliwe the South junior lightweight champion who made two successful defences of his title in 2010 and finished the year in style when he outpointed the rugged Filipino Vin Vin Rufino to win the vacant WBC International super featherweight title.
Comeback of the Year: Commonwealth bronze medallist in 1998 and Olympic representative in 2000, Phumzile Matyhila never realised his full potential as a professional but after only four fights in the last three years he turned in a brilliant performance when he outpointed Nkqubela Gwazela to win the South African bantamweight title and make a successful defence against Ntobela Duma.
Mismatch of the Year: Johnny Muller’s first round stoppage win over Ronnie Lategan for the vacant South African light heavyweight title.
Worst Decision of the Year: An unmarked Juanito Rubillar from the Philippines appeared to outclass Hekkie Budler in March in their clash for the vacant IBO junior flyweight title but the judges thought otherwise and rendered a majority decision in favour of Budler.
Saddest Moment’s of the Year: </b>The match-up between William Gare and Roland Francis for the WBF super middleweight belt before only a handful of spectators.
Upset of the Year: There is no one other than his trainer Manny Fernandes who would have given South African junior welterweight champion Kaizer Mabuza the remotest chance against former WBO welterweight champion Kendall Holt in Atlantic City. Mabuza upset the odds in scoring a sixth round stoppage.
For the record
Results of all SA title fights in 2010:
Mar 7- Osborne Machimana W tko 8 Bull Muravha, Johannesburg.
Jan 22-Thabiso Mchunu W tko 4 Ruben Groenewald, Bloemfontein.
Nov 5-Thabiso Mchunu W pts 12 Daniel Bruwer, Durban.
Mar 30-Rupert van Aswegen W pts 12 Balimo Weliya, Kempton Park.
Nov 30-Johnny Muller W tko 1 Ronnie Lategan, Kempton Park.
Sep 24-Khaphathe Mpambanyeni W tko 5 Mthokozisi Malinga, Durban.
Dec 16-Khaphathe Mpambanyeni D 12 Christopher Buthelezi, Durban.
Apr 16-Tshepo Mashego W tko 2 Johannes Salie, Witbank.
Apr 25-Sikhulile Sidzumo W pts 12 Mzolisi Yoyo, East London.
Nov 14 Sikhulile Sidzumo W tko 7 Samuel Malinga, Mdantsane.
Oct 24-Patrick Malinga W tko 8 Vusumzi Tyatyeka, Uitenhage.
Apr 23 Sipho Taliwe W tko 4 Warren Joubert, Johannesburg.
Jul 25-Sipho Taliwe D 12 Godfrey Nzimande. Johannesburg.
May 21-Sabelo Jubatha W tko 2 Marcel Japhta, Port Elizabeth.
Oct 30-Sabelo Jubatha W ko 5 Malibongwe Thoba, Mdantsane.
May 14-Macbute Sinyabi W tko 6 Themba Lesiba, Johannesburg.
Dec 17-Macbute Sinyabi W tko 7 Pfariso Neluvhelani, East London.
May 29-Nkqubela Gwazela W pts 12 Klaas Mboyane, Mdantsane.
Aug 1-Phumzile Matyhila W pts 12 Nkqubela Gwazela, East London.
Dec 18-Phumzile Matyhila W pts 12 Ntobeka Duma, East London.
Mar 27- Themba Joyi W pts 12 Zolile Mbityi, Mdantsane.
Nov 21- Unathi Gqokoma W tko 10 Themba Joyi, Esat London.
Apr 9 – Xola Sifama W ko 6 Anele Makhwelo, East London.
Sep 26-Xola Sifama W ko 11 Wele Yokose, Mdantsane.
Jul 17- Siswe Sinyabi W pts 12 Mfundo Gwayana, Port Elizabeth.
South Africans in world title fights 2010
Feb 27-Hekkie Budler W pts 12 Juanito Rubillar
(vacant IBO junior flyweight title), Kempton Park.
Mar 26-Nkosinathi Joyi W pts 12 Raul Garcia
(IBF mini flyweight title), East London.
Mar 27-Ali Funeka L pts 12 Joan Guzman
(vacant IBF lightweight title), Las Vegas.
Mar 27-Takalani Ndlovu L pts 12 Steve Molitor
(vacant IBF junior featherweight title), Rama, Canada.
Apr 9- Siphiwe Nongqayi D12 Malik Bouziane
(IBF junior bantamweight title), Massy, France.
Apr 10-Francois Botha L tko 8 Evander Holyfield
(WBF heavyweight title), Las Vegas, USA.
Jun 19-Hekkie Budler W pts 12 Juanito Rubillar
(IBO junior flyweight title), Kempton Park.
Jun 19-Gideon Buthelezi W pts 12 Ronelle Ferreras
(IBO strawweight title), Kempton Park.
Jul 31-Simphiwe Nongqayi L tko 6 Alberto Rosas
(IBF junior bantamweight title), Tepic, Mexico.
Sep 1-Mzonke Fana W pts 12 Cassius Baloyi
(IBF junior lightweight title), Brakpan.
Sep 1-Moruti Mthalane W tko 5 Zolani Tete
(IBF flyweight title), Brakpan.
Sep 18-Lovemore Ndou W pts 12 Bongani Mwelase
(IBO welterweight title), Kempton Park.
Nov 6-Tommy Oosthuizen D 12 Isaac Chilemba
(IBO super middleweight title), Kempton Park.
Dec 12-William Gare W pts 12 Roland Francis
(WBF super middleweight title), Johannesburg