By Ron Jackson
Toto Helebe retained his South African bantamweight title with a hard-fought 12 round split points decision over mandatory challenger Cebo Ngema at the Cape Tsogo Sun on Friday night. The Cape Town-based Toto, making his second title defence, won with scores 116-112 and 117-113 from two judges and the third judge scored it 117-114 in favour of Ngema.
Ngema (53,00kgs) produced a workmanlike performane from the opening bell and forced the pace throughout, but the accurate jab of Helebe (53,20kgs) seemed to upset his rhythm. However, the composed Helebe weathered the best of Ngema’s attacks with effective counter-punching. Helebe possibly scored enough points in the early rounds catching his opponent several times with straight rights, but lacked the power to hurt Ngema. From the seventh round onwards, Ngema picked up the pace as he varied his attacks to Helebe’s head and body. Despite making a spirited finish Negema did not do enough to influence two of the judges. Helebe improves his record to 13-3; 7 and Ngema’s reported record drops to 8-4-1; 6.
In the main supporting bout, Lwandiso Gugushe scored a third-round knock-out win over Simphiwe Tom, to claim the vacant Cape Province junior lightweight title.
The tournament was presented by Steve Kalakoda of Kalakoda Promotions