By Ron Jackson
Unathi Gqoma has a chance to regain the SA junior bantamweight title in East London on Sunday. The former champion fights Siphosethu Mvula for the title, which was declared vacant when Minyakhe Sityatha failed to renew his licence.
The 28-year-old Gqokoma has assembled a record of 19-5-1, with 6 wins inside the distance, since losing in his professional debut in June 2005. He won his next nine fights before claiming the vacant Eastern Cape junior bantamweight title with a points victory over Mbulelo Nyanda in October 2006. However, the talented southpaw won only one of his next four fights, losing to Zolile Mbityi in a challenge for the SA junior bantamweight title and to Evans Mbamba for the WBC international super-flyweight title. He then won four out of five fights before taking over the SA junior bantamweight title in November 2010 with a tenth-round stoppage victory over Themba Joyi. Only three months later, in his first defence, he lost the title when Miniyakhe Sityahta knocked him out in the tenth round. Since then, he has won three in row.
Mvulu who is ranked fourth by Boxing SA but little is known about his career. He also hails from the Eastern Cape but Boxrec lists only four professional fights for him. In two fights this year he has impressed by winning inside the distance against Mzuvukile Daniels and Zukiele Noveve in Mdantsane.
In the main supporting bout on Sunday, Bongani Mfundisi and Siphamandla Baleni meet over ten rounds for the Eastern Cape mini-flyweight title. The tournament is presented by Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Boxing Promotions.
GWAYANA NEW SA CHAMPION
Mfundo Gwayana won the SA junior flyweight title when he beat Bongani Silla on a fifth-round technical decision at the Nedevana Hall near King William’s Town last Sunday.
Gwayana suffered a bad cut in a clash of heads in the fourth round and referee Lulama Mtya stopped the fight in the fifth on advice from the ringside doctor. At that stage, two judges had Gwayana leading 40-36 and the third had it 39-37.
Silila, who record now stands at 12-4-2, with 8 knockouts, employed mainly negative tactics as Gwayana (now 17-6-3; 8) extracted revenge for losing on a first-round stoppage when the two met for the interim SA junior flyweight title in September last year.
PREMIER LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CANCELLED
The Premier Boxing League tournament that was scheduled to be held at the Orient Theatre last weekend was cancelled just before the final weigh-in.
SA junior lightweight champion Xolisani Ndongeni was due to fight Eastern Cape lightweight champion Vusumzi Bokolo and former SA junior featherweight champion Macbute Sinyabi was supposed to meet Lwanda Molwana in a featherweight bout.
According to some reports said the tournament was called off because of technical problems.
The disappointing turn of events followed a recent announcement by acting Boxing SA chairperson Ntambi Ravele that the organisation would work towards a regulatory framework covering issues such as the promotion of female boxers, development structures for provincial boxing, marketing and anti-doping measures.
The late cancellation of the tournament is expected to be investigated, particularly with a view to the SA Boxing Act’s regulations covering the sanctioning of tournaments, fees and purse monies.