By Ron Jackson
In a bloody and gruelling affair Unathi Gqokoma retained his Eastern Cape junior bantamweight title when he stopped Zukile Matyumza at 2 minutes 55 seconds into the tenth and final round at the Orient Theatre in East London on Sunday afternoon.
The taller Gqokoma (51.95kg) a former South African junior bantamweight champion using his height and reach advantage took an early lead as he boxed from behind his jab against the southpaw Matyumza (51.95kg).
Both fighters were missing and wild at times and the referee had to warn the challenger for holding.
In the fifth round Matyumza received a bad gash on his nose and a vertical cut above his right eye. Referee Simphiwe Mbina stopped the fight and consulted with the ringside doctor who advised that the fight could continue.
Matyumza’s corner was unable to control the bleeding on his nose but this did not deter the challenger as he came out aggressively in the sixth round and attacked the champion.
Gqokoma appeared to be tiring against the gutsy challenger but after landing two swinging rights to the head of Matyumza who was briefly staggered the referee stepped in to call the fight off.
Matyumza was still in the fight and was most unfortunate that with only five seconds left it did not go to the judge’s scorecards.
Gqokoma improved his record to 19-5-1; 5 and Matyumza saw his record as announced from the ring drop to 8-3-2; 3.
The judges were Siya Vabaza, Lulama Mtya and Andile Matika.
Other results: Junior featherweight: Onela Qongwana (54.05kg) beat Asini Joseph (54.80kg), pts 6; Junior featherweight: Lundi Madondile (55.30kg) beat Mkhluli Dudu (55.20kg), pts 6; Featherweight: Lwadisa Zinto (56.55kg) beat Baxolise Mbexeshi (57.00kg), ko 1; Lightweight: Vusumzi Bokolo (61.15kg) beat Mlamli Madikane (60.60kf), tko 2; Junior flyweight: Zikisani Kwayiba (48.70kg) beat Siyabulela Khupiso (48.45kg) tko 1.
The tournament was presented by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Promotions.