By Ron Jackson
Themba Joyi retained his South African junior bantamweight title with a unanimous 12 round points decision when he beat the veteran Zolile Mbityi on Saturday night at the Mdantsane Indoor Centre near East London. The southpaw Joyi (10-1-1, 6 KOs) who won the title in November 2008 when he stopped Thembelani Maphuma was just too strong and rugged for the 40-year-old Mbityi (34-14-3) in a fight that never rose to any heights.
Mbityi spent most the fight in survival mode as he back-peddled around the ring and held on when the champion scored on the inside and only attacked on sporadic occasions. He was rather fortunate that the referee did not deduct a point for holding after being warned on numerous occasions.
The cagey challenger who is a former SA flyweight and junior bantamweight champion and IBO flyweight and super flyweight champion who sustained a cut over his right eye in the fifth round used all his years of experience as he ducked and dived to make Joyi look very ordinary at times.
However, most of the scoring punches came from Joyi. Judge Vabaza and Mbini scored it 117-112 and 118-112 whilst judge Matika had it 118-111.