By Ron Jackson
Edrin Dapudong knocked Gideon Buthelezi clean out of his IBO junior bantamweight title on Saturday night. The little Filipino’s classic left hook to the jaw knocked out the champion 2 minutes 29 seconds into the first round of their fight at Emperors Palace, east of Johannesburg. The South African’s supporters were stunned into silence even before they had time to warm to the boxers who had come out for the first bout of the Golden Gloves Promotions tournament.
Buthelezi, who had won their first bout on a split decision in November last year, seemed confident enough as the boxers sized up each other. Dapudong dug in a left to the body and Buthelezi momentarily dropped his guard.
The South African never saw the follow-up left. His head swivelled as Dapudong’s fist connected and he was out even before he hit the canvas. American referee Robert Byrd immediately called it over and out as Buthelezi’s handlers rushed to his aid.
Dapudong burst into tears as he realised he had won the title that he could have had late last year when the judges denied him, forcing the IBO to order a rematch.
Buthezi had come into the defence of his belt with a record of 13-3, including four knockouts. Dapudong improved to 28-5, with 17 knockouts after one of the most sensational opening rounds seen in SA boxing for a long time.
LIEBENBERG BEATS MULLER
The spectators, short-changed by the quick finish to the first bout, got their money’s worth when Ryno Liebenberg and Johnnie Muller got stuck into each other in their IBO intercontinental light-heavyweight title bout.
And the fans so appreciated the spectacle that they tossed their money right back into the ring after a fight that screamed ”another rematch”.
In the end, Liebenberg won the 12-round scrap 115-111 on two cards and 117-109 on the third.
It was ugly, gory and at times dirty. Muller must have shed a full unit of blood from a cut near the outside corner of the left eye. It appeared in the first round and never stopped bleeding.
Both boxers and the referee were at times entangled in a crow’s nest of arms, legs and ropes, and ringside doctors twice took a look at Muller’s bleeding eye before giving him permission to continue.
Liebenberg had won their first fight in the ninth round after being dropped in the second. His record now stands at 12-0, with 8 knockouts. Muller dropped to 13-3-2; 10.
In a catchweight bout, junior flyweight Thabang Ramagola outclassed Leratho Kgole to win on points over six rounds.